The difference between ground rules and group agreements can be semantic for some if the process of developing the guidelines is the same. The important variable is that a traditional “rule” is imposed, while an agreement is co-established by an entire group. NOTE: There are a few community agreements that are often addressed to participants that we do not use or do not bring. Two of the most common are “accepting the best intentions” and “trusting the norm.” The reason we don`t use it is that if someone is not able to do it (they say they don`t feel familiar, or unsure), with a community agreement that tells them to do so, nothing will change. These agreements are not always realistic, especially if we take into account the fact that when people have been harmed by sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, classicism, they/we build the tools necessary to support ourselves and protect ourselves. The agreements we propose instead, which capture the spirit of these encounters, are “we cannot be articulated all the time”, “to be generous with each other” or “it is a space to learn.” Other ways to establish group agreements may be more appropriate for shorter meetings or workshops or for groups that do not deal with emotional or controversial topics. This implies that the real power of agreements is that everyone has the opportunity to contribute, listen and respond to their personal needs, and feel safer now. Many people don`t get it: agreements are primarily a matter of safety, not police behavior. For this reason, it never works to use another`s chords. You may be afraid that people will disagree, which is why many people use “basic rules.” Ironically, and unsurprisingly, the presentation of rules can trigger exactly the behavior of the people we are afraid of because this idea is unconsciously spreading throughout the group. Trust the group! 4.
Passport law – supports people who do not want to talk in a group without asking them to explain themselves. There are many ways to create group agreements. To decide to use them, you can consider some of the following: whether the group will work together in the longer term, what is the controversy over the topic of the meeting or workshop, how long you have and how much confidence the group has in you as a mediator. Things like community agreements, an agenda, an available diagram of your group`s decision process, and a place where important topics are stored for future conversations, next steps, etc., are important bases for a meeting – we call them containers. They act as visual tools on which participants and moderators can return throughout the meeting to keep the group focused, on the track and on the same page. They also offer directions for times when it becomes sticky or tense. There are many ways to create an agenda that matches the style, culture and requirements of each group or meeting. No matter how you do it, a clear and well-constructed agenda, to which all participants can subscribe, is a decisive step towards an effective, inclusive and grandiose meeting. The role of the moderator (generally) is to keep participants on track by respecting the agenda and ensuring that the agenda does not work and that there are changes to be made. Here are some good practices regarding agendas: Keep the agreement for use in future meetings or workshops with the same group, but check each time to make sure everyone is always satisfied with it. You can, for example, add something to the agreement.
People are generally fairly reasonable and will be happy with a number of group standards if the process is open and transparent. The effects on group behaviour and the resulting group effectiveness can be very significant.