Group Patterns & Processes Online

groupworksThere 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!

Group Patterns: How Do They Apply to Virtual Environments?.

 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?

5 thoughts on “Group Patterns & Processes Online”

  1. Thanks, Nancy!

    We have scheduled a first call for next week. If anyone is interested, please contact me (tim at intellitics dot com), and I’ll add you to the conversation.

    Would like to learn more about the Liberating Structures project, too.

  2. Please keep me in the loop. I have the group works cards and would love to keep learning and sharing. Not sure what form that will take but yes, keep me in the loop. \
    Thanks, Lynne

  3. Hi Nancy – I would like to see where this conversation goes. Not sure what I can contribute but I will bring what i can!

  4. First call is today!
    Dear all:
    Our first call is today at 10 AM PT!

    At around 9:55 PT today, just click this link to log in to our virtual meeting room

    On the sign in page:

    1 Click ENTER AS A GUEST
    2 Type your first and last name
    3 Click ENTER ROOM
    4 When you receive the prompt to JOIN AUDIO CONFERENCE, enter the phone number you would like to be reached at in this format 1-703-XXX-XXXX

    In a few seconds, your phone will ring. Answer it and you will be connected to the virtual classroom.
    No need to “dial in” the classroom will reach out to you!

    You simply click the link and join as a guest, entering your name. A video on YOU TUBE describes the log in process in detail. Please take a few minutes and look at the video so you are familiar with how to sign on.

    Feel free to send me your questions if you have some or call 202-262-3371.
    I look forward to our session!

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