There is something in the air! All the interesting facilitation and process stuff emerging like Groupworks Deck and Liberating Structures are prompting people involved with them from a face to face perspective to begin considering them in online and distributed contexts. At the Liberating Structures workshop in Seattle last week, a Open Space breakout group resolved to explore more and we’ve started a Google Group (leave a comment or email me to join). Now Tim Bonnemann is getting a group activated around the Groupworks Deck pattern language. Here is his offer!
I’ve mentioned the Group Works project before, a multi-year effort to explore and document the “deeper core of what brings a group conversation alive”…
One of my main interests in this area from the very beginning has been the question if and to what extent these kinds of underlying principles, building blocks or patterns might apply to online or virtual environments.
Some patterns should translate fairly easily, for example:
Closing: The formal ritual that concludes the collective time and space by completing the cycle of a group process. Include everyone, acknowledge the end of the time together and mark the transition point, ushering in a shift to what follows.
Mirroring: Empathically reflect back the essence of what someone has said so the speaker feels heard, genuinely acknowledged and appreciated. Honouring people’s gifts can heal individuals and relationships, unblock stuck places, and get energy flowing again.
Yes, and: Build on what someone just said to offer encouragement and carry it further. Affirm their ideas, then extend them to a deeper understanding or add a new twist. Create momentum by saying “Yes, and . . .”
Others, maybe not so easily:
Circle: A Circle is a safe, solid, yet permeable space with an inside, an outside, and a focus that moves from person to person. A welcoming form where everyone can see each other and all voices are heard, it creates a field that invites sharing and story.
Holding Space: Be fully present, aware of what’s happening in the whole gathering right now–physically, energetically, emotionally, and intellectually. Open and hold the psychological and spiritual space to provide a steady centre and container. Calmly maintain trust, safety, and focus.
Silence: The rests between notes make the music. Take a quiet moment to tune into yourself or the group. Invite Silence to slow the process, make space for questions, transition, or simply deepen.
Over the next few months, I’d like to spend some time exploring. If you share the same interest and would like to get involved, please let me know, and we’ll take it from there.
A lot of fun thinking and learning… are you ready to join in?