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Last Update: 09-Oct-2005 10:27:03 am


Facilitators' Guide to Participatory Decision-Making


Sam Kaner, with Lenny Lind, Duane Berger, Catherine Toldi & Sarah Fisk


New Society Publishers







New Society Publishers P.O. Box 189 Gabriola Island, BC Canada, V0R 1X0 Phone: 250-247-9737 Fax: 250-247-7471 E-mail: info@newsociety.com





The Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making provides the tools to put our democratic values into practice in groups and organizations. The preface and introduction briefly summarize the purpose, history, and definitions of "group facilitation," leaving the bulk of the pages free to function as a how-to manual for facilitators actually doing the work. The book clearly presents a variety of skills, techniques, and tools designed to help groups increase participation and collaboration, promote mutual understanding, honor diversity, and make effective, inclusive, participatory decisions. The book offers a large amount of information in a clear and organized way, using lists, charts, diagrams, graphics, and a lot of white space, all of which serves to prevent the pages from becoming simply a blur of endless words. A recurring and useful theme in the book is the use of a "why and how" format when introducing a technique, which provides a simple and clear theoretical base that offers a context and rationale for each set of the detailed and specific instructions. The book moves easily between discussions of group dynamics and dealing with personalities, on the one hand, and very concrete and detailed ideas for commonly-mishandled tasks, on the other. The first and third sections of the book devote space to explaining the principles involved in making decisions and building sustainable agreements. Issues here include such things as "gradients of agreement" and the prioritizing of issues. The middle section is more concrete, including, for example, an entire chapter to "Chartwriting Technique," which features tips on lettering, colors, symbols, and "deciding how much to write." Now, that's detailed! The Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making will be useful for managers, seasoned facilitators, students, and anyone who participates in decision-making groups. Table of Contents Part One 1. The dynamics of group decision-making 2. participatory values 3. Introduction to the role of facilitator Part Two 4. Facilitative Listening Skills 5. Facilitating Open Discussion 6. Alternatives to Open Discussion 7. Chart Writing Technique 8. Brainstorming 9. Tools for Managing Long Lists 10. Dealing with difficult dynamics 11. Designing realistic agendas Part Three 12. Principles for building sustainable agreements 13. Gathering diverse points of view 14. Building a shared framework of understanding 15. Developing inclusive solutions 16. Striving for unanimity 17. Reaching closure 18. Facilitating sustainable agreements




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