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Consensus Decision-Making Workshop


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These 22 slides accompanied a workshop that focused on teaching the basics of a consensus process that uses cooperative dialogue. It also covered techniques for an efficient council and tools for effective community engagement.

The participants were parents interested in forming a school council, but could be useful for any group interested in using a consensus based approach for their collective decision-making.

Handouts from the workshop are available for download at

Dotmocracy materials are available at

Published in: Education, Technology, Spiritual
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Consensus Decision-Making Workshop

  1. 1. Consensus Decision-Making <br />Grove Community School - Parent Council Training Workshop<br />
  2. 2. Agenda<br />Introduction <br />Who&apos;s Here?<br />Consensus Basics<br />Dialogue for Consensus <br />Techniques for an Efficient  Council<br />Tools for Effective Community Engagement <br />Community Meeting Scenario <br />Next Steps<br />Parents can talk to grade reps (OPTIONAL)<br />
  3. 3. Introduction<br />Workshop Goal: Skills building among parents<br />Plan to create a Parent Council<br />
  4. 4. Introduction<br />Jason Diceman<br />&<br />Simone Arsenault-May <br />
  5. 5. Who’s Here? <br />
  6. 6. What is Consensus? <br />Democratic form of group decision-making that works best in small groups (less than 15).<br />Process: Creative and cooperative discussion of ideas and opinions.<br />Goal: Find the best solution that everyone can live with.<br />Equal opportunity to participate. <br />Promote the growth of community and build trust.<br />
  7. 7. What Consensus is Not <br />Not necessarily unanimous agreement with 100% enthusiastic satisfaction.<br />Not voting on competing options (e.g. Robert’s Rules).<br />Not debating or bargaining to win your view.<br />Not going with the lowest common denominator.<br />Silence interpreted as consent.<br />Not just going along with ‘the leader’.<br />
  8. 8. Your Definition<br />Your group will create and agree upon your own working definition of consensus, and when and how other kinds of decision-making will be used e.g. voting, delegation.<br />
  9. 9. Basic Steps of Consensus<br />Introduction: Presentation of issue to be addressed.<br />Clarification: Questions and information gathering.<br />Dialogue: Discussion of ideas and opinions towards the formation of a proposal.<br />Address Concerns: Ask for concerns with proposal and seek solutions.<br />Call for Consensus: Each member states their level of support for proposal.<br />If lacking support, further dialogue is likely required.<br />Option to use alternative decision-making (e.g. delegate, vote).<br />Shelve the decision to be addressed at a later date.<br />
  10. 10. Levels of Support<br />
  11. 11. Using Alternative Decision-Making<br />Conditions for using other forms of decision-making need to be determined in advance. <br />Participants should be sincerely seeking consensus, not sabotaging in order to force a vote.<br />When the decision at hand is very subjective it might be better to delegate. <br />When urgent decisions are required it may be better to delegate.<br />
  12. 12. Dialogue for Consensus <br />Role Playing Dialogue vs. Debate: <br />What should be our special lunch day menu?<br />
  13. 13.
  14. 14. Tips for an Efficient  Council<br />Hard working and cooperative individuals<br />Experienced meeting chair person<br />Consistent use of a discussion email list (e.g. Yahoo Groups, Google Groups)<br />Up-to-date documentation on the web(e.g. Google Sites,<br />Simple web tools to help schedule meetings (e.g.,<br />
  15. 15. Methods for Community Messages<br />Email list / e-newsletter<br />Up-to-date website<br />Take home letters<br />Posters<br />Bulletin Boards<br />
  16. 16. Techniques for Community Engagement<br />‘One-window’ contacts <br />One person and set of contact details responsible for managing communication to and from the council<br />Promotes consistency and group accountability<br />Speak w/one voice - avoid conflicting messages<br />Online Surveys (e.g.<br />
  17. 17. Techniques for Community Engagement<br />Forums<br />Open House Events<br />Study Circles<br />
  18. 18. Dotmocracy Sheets<br />
  19. 19. Dotmocracy Wall<br />
  20. 20. Dotmocracy Wall<br />
  21. 21. Community Meeting Scenario<br />DEMONSTRATIONUse Dotmocracy sheets to recognize agreements concerning:<br />What should our policy be for what students can take to school?<br />
  22. 22. Next Steps<br />Slides to be posted at<br />