Many well-meaning facilitators come from cynical perspectives that disallow us from acknowledging the norms that make successful groups work. We can overcome this by having participants create ground rules or guidelines before you begin. Brainstorm potential rules and write them down – but avoid too many rules. There are three essential guidelines:
- Stay on task. Every group should have a clearly stated purpose and agenda. This allows us to stay focused, considerate, and action-oriented.
- Avoid rabbit holes. Alice fell into a world away from reality – Your group doesn’t have to be that way. Stay aware of off-topic banter, read your audience, and consider other ways to share ideas before getting too far away from the point.
- Look for diamonds by working through the coal. There are rough things to go through in some groups. Instead of avoiding them commit- as a group- to getting in and going through them.
Every group should have some specific guidelines that all participants agree on. Some goals can include:
- Accomplish the specific task at hand, and when we’re done say we’re done.
- Build a sense of teamwork and purpose.
- Show that everyone has different strengths and abilities to offer the group and that no one is better than anyone else.