Dear Auntie, please help. I love doing Transition, and I love the projects our group is doing, but I can’t bear our Core Group meetings. They are lacklustre, tedious and I feel myself losing the will to live in them. I would love to be able to take some suggestions to our next meeting for making them lively, enjoyable and something I look forward to. Any tips?” J.L.
Reading your question I wonder whether you’re a “meetings” kind of person, and whether it’s the right place for you to be in Transition? I don’t think meetings are for everyone – it takes a particular willingness to structure things, to be patient, to work with whoever else is there, that not everyone wants to do – and one of the great strengths of something like Transition when it’s working well is that we can all find the place where we can be of most use, while enjoying ourselves.
It’s great to hear that the projects your group is doing are enjoyable – and it shows that there’s skills somewhere in your initiative for getting things to work well. If you want to work to improve the meetings, here are some ideas which have worked in other groups.
Put “Our meetings” on the agenda, and plan some questions that will start a discussion about how everyone is finding the meetings and what could improve them – such as
What do you like about our meetings?
What works well?
How could meetings be more engaging, enjoyable and energising?
What could make our meetings more effective?
Encourage a willingness to experiment – it’s what Transition is all about, trying new ways of doing things – so it’s good to practice that ourselves.
What if we share food at one of the meetings? Or hear from each other about what we love about our place? Or say one thing we’d really like to see in the future? Maybe you can share food one time, and have social time with that – so you can get to know each other a bit better as people. For some people this can feel uncomfortable at first – it’s easier to just stick with the business – but most groups find that in the long run getting to hear more from each other warms the meetings up when we talk about things we care about.
On a more practical note, many groups have found that getting some training in running meetings helps – in Totnes the core group all attended a one day training in meetings methods after just a few months of meeting, which meant we had some tried and tested structures for making our meetings effective and inclusive.
There are good online resources on the Transition website we have:
- How to run effective meetings guide – an overview of running effective meetings.
- How to keep people involved in Transition – this has tricks and tips for making meetings more interesting and engaging.
- Inner Transition Activities for Meetings – activities to brighten up meetings and improve them.
- Seeds for change have some great tools for different ways of running meetings
Our Agony Aunt today was Sophy Banks. For more information about how to develop Transition then check out our Support Offer which provides a wide range of activities and resources to help you develop all aspect of Transition in your community. Do you have a question for our Agony Aunt? Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.