Whether formal or informal, small or large, volunteer-based or work-related, groups have a tendency to generate a wide range of ideas. This is one of the strengths of groups, which tend to be more creative than individuals, in part due to the interaction of diverse perspectives. However, without sufficient awareness of how to facilitate this potential richness, it can become a road block that breeds conflict, lack of understanding and unnecessary power struggles.
The following three workshops offer participants both information and practical tools to help them harness the potential of their groups. Although not required, we encourage you to attend all three workshops, as there is a foundation and flow from one topic to the next which will allow you to gain the most benefit from your participation.
Finding Common Ground: Using Dialogue for Better Solutions
January 25th, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
This participatory workshop is designed for anyone who facilitates or leads any type of group. The workshop will provide an overview of the concept and practice of dialogue in groups and will assist in:
- Distinguishing between dialogue and debate as styles of group discussion;
- Identifying the ways in which dialogue builds cooperation, increases understanding and enlarges one’s point of view to reach better solutions;
- Encouraging you to experiment with the dialogue approach through interactive exercises.
Deciding How to Decide: Choosing and Using Decision-Making Processes
February 1st, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
How do you get the best buy-in for any decision that is reached? Whether you are a manager, staff person or peer group facilitator, this interactive workshop will present a range of decision-making processes for you to work with. In addition, it will give you some tools to:
- Understand the basic concepts and practice of a range of decision-making processes;
- Understand what consensus decision-making is and is not;
- Facilitate or participate in consensus or dotmocracy processes when making important decisions.
When the Going Gets Tough – Dealing with Conflict
March 10th, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Conflict is a normal part of any group’s dynamics. Conflict resolution improves with openness, clear process and practice. In this workshop we will explore our personal reactions to conflict, discuss common conflicts in groups, and practice conflict resolution skills. The workshop will include:
- Examples of behaviours that can trigger conflict;
- Stages at which conflict can occur in the life of a group or team and how to identify which conflict resolution approach to use when.
- Since not all conflicts are easily resolved, we will also look at how to accept that reality and still move forward as a fully functioning and respectful group.
Workshops will be co-led by Simone Arsenault-May and Spencer Brennan.
Enrollment is limited to 20 people. Please register early to avoid disappointment. The $50 registration fee includes materials and refreshments.
For more information, and to register, please visit http://www.selfhelp.on.ca/archives/00000161.html.