Want to...
Have Meetings That Get Somewhere?

Contact ...

Chuck Kaparich

Youth for Environmental Sanity
706 Frederick St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95062

How To ...

Conduct Meetings

Santa Cruz, Calif. -- Raise your hand. Say YES! and put an end to interruptions, mindless meanderings and "block-talk." Youth for Environmental Sanity uses hand signals to debate, facilitate and communicate.
  • Have something to say?
    Use a hand signal!
  • Someone straying from the topic?
    Use a hand signal!
  • Someone really straying?
    Use a hand signal!
  • Someone gasbagging?
    Use a hand signal!
  • Have a relevant comment?
    Use a hand signal!
  • Like what you hear?
    Use a hand signal!

Friendly Advice on the Conduct of Quaker Meetings for Business

1. Suitably prepare thyself for business session.

2. Seek not for information in open business session which thou shouldst have discovered by reading reports and minutes.

3. Let not certain Friends be known for their much speaking. Brevity is desirable on meetings for business as in meetings for worship.

4. If thou art tempted to speak much and often, exercise restraint lest thy speaking be not "in the Spirit."

5. Having spoken on a matter of business, it is well for thee to refrain from speaking again till after others have had full opportunity to voice their concerns.

6. Thou should exercise care lest thy presumed convictions be only "points" or even prejudices.

7. Beware lest thou confuse thy own desire with the leading of the Spirit.

8. Should thy concern not meet with the general approval of the meeting, in common courtesy and in true humility withdraw thy concern that the meeting may act in some measure of unity.

9. Temper thy speech with tenderness and forbearance, that the Friends may "feel" the promptings of the heart.

Meet ... Delete ... Don't repeat.

Guidelines adopted from the Powell House Newsletter

Tune In ...

Signs of agreement? YES!

"When you have people with strong personalities and a lot of opinions and perspectives," says Ocean Robbins, co-founder of Youth for Environmental Sanity, "it's hard for everyone to feel heard sometimes."

Not anymore, at least with YES! In a meeting with YES! students, actions sometimes speak louder than words. These Santa Cruz, Calif., students use hand signals to smooth the discussion process and to let each other know -- without interrupting -- what's on their minds.

After three years of trying to make decisions by consensus, YES! meetings were full of "maybes" and "nos". Discussions turned into disputes. The solution? YES! chose a facilitator, a timekeeper and a notetaker and pledged to stick to the agenda. And the group started using hand signals to ask the facilitator for permission to speak -- instead of just shouting and interrupting.

The signals are simple -- maybe goofy -- but they speed up meetings and remind everyone of what's important and what isn't. Something must be working. The group has toured more than 100 cities, appeared before about 450,000 students, working to encourage kids to set up local recycling programs, eco-fairs and beach and mountain cleanups.

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