We all know that working in groups, especially volunteer groups, can be rewarding and challenging. That’s why GRAVA chose to focus on Making Meetings Work at their May Workshop. While group may at times feel like herding cats, session faciliator Plum Cluverius (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Vedere Consulting emphasized that all groups of people operate within a certain dynamic framework, which if understood and utilized, can help leaders bring out the best in their teams.
Plum opened up the session with a overview of American psychologist Will Schutz’s Theory of Interpersonal Needs in which Inclusion (In or Out), Control ( Up or Down) and Openness (Near or Far) are the three main dimensions that explain most human interaction and group dynamics.
- Inclusion – Do I want to be part of this group?
- Control – How much influence will I have?
- Openness – How close can I be to members of this group?
In order for our volunteers to best be able to answer the above questions, Plum encouraged GRAVA members to do the following:
- Take time at the meeting for each volunteer to introduce themselves and talk about what drew them to this work (or why they are still involved).
- Take time to clarify the purpose and function of the meeting. At the beginning of a project, ask each person to share their understanding of the purpose and how they believe they can contribute to success.
- Make sure you have realistic goals of what you want to accomplish int his meeting. Share this goal at the beginning and ask the group what they hope to accomplish.
- Have a clear agenda — tackle the most important items first rather than the quickest or easiest.
- Create opportunities for people to connect before, during or after the meeting.