Tips, Videos, Handouts

Ground rules

Good Group Tips

In principle, when everybody understands and plays by the same rules the experience is much more likely to be fun and rewarding than if people make up or assume their own rules and not everyone understands the rules. Like playground rules posted on a fence, meeting ground rules encourage us to play safe, have fun, and include everyone. Group decision making is more efficient and achieves better results when we have shared expectations of each other.

Practical Tip: Establish meeting ground rules at the start of every meeting — a simple list of ten or fewer statements about how we all agree to behave in the meeting. The group might make a list from scratch or discuss and revise a list proposed by a facilitator or other leader. Many groups use the same set of ground rules meeting after meeting.

All participants should be watchful for compliance with the ground rules and politely point out violations. Review the ground rules regularly and don’t hesitate to make additions or changes. Make sure new people understand the ground rules.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.

At home and in families

Good Group Tips

In principle, 90 percent of disease prevention and curing is done at home and in families. We all practice health care. We help each other eat well, get rest, and we take care of each other when sick. Only sometimes do we see a doctor or some other medical professional. Same with collaborative decisions: 90 percent of conflict prevention and resolution is done at home and in families. We help each other see things differently, we settle arguments, and we offer compassion and advice to those in conflict. Similarly, we all do the work of collaborative decisions in our jobs and in community groups. Only sometimes do we hire a facilitator or mediator.

Practical Tip: Just as I take 90 percent responsibility for my own health and my family’s health, I take 90 percent responsibility for peace and good decision making in the groups I belong to. To do it well I educate myself about what really works, beyond wives’ tales, and I try to actually do what I learn. Also, I self-diagnose. I ask, “What did I do today that contributed to a more peaceful world?” And, “How could I do better?” Like a sick person visualizing themselves as healthy, I try to see myself as a peacemaker. I don’t need a license to practice.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.

No one’s writing anything down!

Want to help your group be efficient? Write stuff down.

Want to look smart? Write stuff down.

Want to BE smart? Write stuff down.

Craig explains in this short video.

And here’s another video on this topic. It’s called Write stuff down.


This video has captions. To see them, click CC on the video screen.

Here’s what Craig says in the video

Hi everybody! Hey it’s Craig Freshley here.

I was in a meeting the other day — lots of highly paid people giving important opinions, deciding important things — and I looked around the room and I said to myself, “No one’s writing anything down!”

I was in a one-on-one conversation with somebody the other day giving instructions — pretty complicated instructions — and thinking to myself, “they’re not writing anything down! How are they going to remember this?”

And you know what? The next time I talked with that person it was clear that they hadn’t remembered, or they got wrong, the things that I had said. And that group? The next time they met they had to go over the same ground.

Meetings get a bad reputation for being inefficient and a leading cause of inefficiency is having to go over the same stuff again and again. And an easy solution to that is to write stuff down. Circulate the notes to the people who were in the meeting, check and see if what got written down matches everyone’s understanding, and don’t turn back. Let that be a reflection of the discussion or the conclusion and keep going.

When it comes to work and important conversations, I’m a writer-downer. Every phone call, every conversation, I take notes and file them away. Every meeting that I facilitate, I take notes and circulate them to the people who participated.

And here’s the magic. Writing stuff down doesn’t only prevent you from having to rehash stuff it helps you remember stuff. When I have to write stuff down it makes me a better listener.

Somebody said to me recently, “Craig you are holding so much stuff, you’re amazing!” And you know what? It’s not that I’m amazing. It’s just that I write stuff down.

I hope this helps you help your group make good decisions.

Thanks for listening everybody.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.