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Be a Climate Setter

You are sitting in a regular meeting and find yourself…

a) Actively listening and contributing : Warmed up

b) Listening, contributing and checking Facebook: Luke Warm

c) Counting the number of tack holes in the cork board: Cold as Ice

 

There are likely a slew of reasons that feed into engagement levels (day, time, history, assumptions, things not said, political and funding realities, workload, group process and dynamics etc.). There will also likely be a natural flow between group temperatures… we won‘t all be warm all of the time. However if we are talking about full active engagement let’s assume that we want things in the warmer more often.

How can you be a climate setter?

  1. Begin by checking in (often) on your own personal responses and approaches to others. Be clear where you lie on the continuum of group climate possibilities. Ask others where they are.
  2. Get clear on the tone you and others would like to see in the group setting. Do you want to change the pace, add some energy or fun, hold respectful and safe dialogue space, get to know each other, or stimulate creative thinking (or the lofty answer of all/more than the above)?
  3. Pick a process to match the tone and climate you are all after.

 

Listed below are some fun and easy check-in exercises that we have done that will help warm group climates.

  • Place recycled calendar pictures on a meeting table and ask people to pick the picture that most aligns with _______(what they are feeling today, where they are in terms of the group decision, or what they would like to get out of the meeting). Metaphors and images can be a powerful way to encourage free expression.
  • Put up a weather barometer and ask people to introduce themselves and where they are in regards to the group issue at hand based on a temperature on the barometer. Bring the barometer back out during “check out” to see if any weather patterns have changed!
  • Use quotes as a way for people to share their passions and thoughts around the group (consider leadership quotes, community building, consensus, conflict or a combination). Print the quotes in large font and place around the meeting table. Have each person pick and then read out the quote that reflects where they are or where they want the group to go. They can also be hung around the room and serve as reminder for future meetings. 
  • Fill up a candy dish with many different jelly beans. Ask each person to pick the colour jelly bean that represents their current mood around the present group discussion/task.
  • Craft questions that encourage group exploration. Read the article Firestarters: Ask well-crafted questions.
  • Use sentence stems such as;
    • A hope I have is…
    • A concern I have is…
    • One thing that made it difficult to come here today is…
    • One thing that made it easy to be here today is…
    • I appreciate…
    • I feel proud of…
    • I want to know…

 

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