Originally published at: The 5 Minute First Aid Kit for a meeting - Sociocracy For All
Recently, while facilitating, a sudden event interrupted the meeting (weird story for another time).
I was rattled, and wished for a guide to help in the moment, something like a first aid kit.
…So here is an effort at that first aid kit! It’s intended for those big, unexpected, moments in meetings when people can feel overwhelmed and use some support.
How to use the 5 Minute First Aid Kit
Before any issues arise, the group may want to discuss when (and when not!) the group might use the 5 Minute First Aid Kit.
When do we use the 5 Minute First Aid Kit?
During unsettling or confusing events, the facilitator may wonder what to do next.
The 5 Minute First Aid Kit offers a structured response
Consider using the 5 Minute First Aid Kit when something unusual or upsetting happens in a meeting. Examples include someone sharing significant news, or an argument between meeting members.
Who proposes using the 5 Minute First Aid Kit?
Any member of the group can propose it, not just the facilitator. The proposal is treated like any other consent proposal where people consent or object, and the group aims to integrate objections. A person might say something like “I propose we bring out the 5 Minute First Aid Kit and use the next 5 minutes to talk about what just happened.” The facilitator then asks for a “thumbs up” consent process. By consenting, the group is agreeing to extend the meeting by 5 minutes and using the time to address the outstanding issue.
How does the 5 Minute First Aid Kit work?
The facilitator starts and ends a round with the focus person(s). Begin by asking the focus person(s) if they’d like to answer these two questions:
- What are you feeling?
- What do you want from the group?
The focus person(s) may then respond within the time frame. With time remaining, the facilitator can ask for quick reactions from the rest of the group. When the 5 minutes are up, depending on needs, the facilitator may propose that…
- The group return to the meeting agenda
- The group spend an additional x minutes processing
- The issue be revisited on a specific date, in a specific way
(e.g., during or before the next meeting, with the whole group or particular people)
Useful tips for the facilitator
- Designate a timekeeper or set a timer for 5 minutes.
- Invite each group member to remain conscious of the plan to keep to the time.
- Offer this as an opportunity for the focus person(s) to be heard, rather than the best or only time for problem solving.
- During the closing round ask group members to share their experiences during the 5 Minute First Aid Kit. What worked well? What could have been better?
Use feedback to improve the process.