Global Change Seminar
"It's Your Move!"
Setting up A Seminar Group
"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead's famous remark illustrates the power that can arise within a small group. Synergy is possible when each group member feels secure enough to release his/her own drive and creativity in the safe harbor provided by a supportive group, especially when its members have a common interest or goal. Group members offer each other moral support, nudging, feedback, and insight. Ideas build on each other as a group works through them to reach new insights and understanding. Commitment (and enjoyment) deepens in a climate of mutual support while at the same time ensuring independence of individual thought and action.
This Seminar is designed to harness the power of small groups on behalf of each individual participant. Thus, before you Register for the Seminar, you will need to recruit a few people who agree to do it with you. You may have to do a little marketing, and while you could do the Seminar on your own it will be much more powerful if you do it in a group. You will regularly discuss and do exercises for each Segment of the Seminar in this Group. You will learn more about what you think as you talk to your Group--and you will get ideas and insights from them too. Some of the exercises need to be done with a small group, and if you try to do the Seminar alone these may be difficult. Most importantly, by talking with your Group, you will be "going public" with your feelings and plans: you are much more likely to follow through on your commitments if you have previously shared them with other people.
A Seminar Group will consist, ideally, of between four and six individuals who are comfortable sharing their feelings and aspirations with each other. A smaller group runs the risk of disintegrating if one person drops out for any reason. A larger group may become unwieldy, and will require longer meetings to ensure that each person benefits from the group's feedback and support.
A detailed suggested Agenda is provided for each Group meeting that takes place at the end of every Segment of the Seminar. The Agendas are intended to guide the Group through a reflection, study, and exercise process that enhances the learning that took place during the homework activities. Agendas offer proven techniques for stimulating discussion, and include various housekeeping activities to maintain the Group throughout the Seminar. Group meetings should take place sitting down, face to face, in an environment where no-one is rushed and the Group has an opportunity to relax and think clearly.
Here are some ideas for approaching other people to ask them about joining with you to do the Seminar together as a Group:
- Not everyone in a Group needs to know all the others. The Agenda for the initial Group Meeting gives activities designed to begin the process of creating a bond among Group members, and subsequent Agendas include suggestions to strengthen the mutual connections.
- Print out the Seminar Goals and Objectives and Curriculum Overview and use them as talking points in making your pitch to potential Group members.
- Use the Seminar as a "hook" to arrange a meeting with someone you don't know well, but who you think probably shares your concerns about the global situation. At the meeting, be open about your feelings and your desire to do something positive. Ask them to visit the Seminar website. Think of this as an opportunity to make a new friend who shares your common interests. Even if they turn you down, the basis for future connections will have been laid.
- Make a mental list of of those family members, friends, colleagues, and/or acquaintances with whom you sometimes discuss global concerns. See if you can come up with a dozen names of people you know who are unhappy with the direction the world is going. These people may be interested in checking out the Seminar material. Send out an e-mail explaining that you want to do the Seminar and that you need to put together a group. Emphasize the fun and collegiality that comes from being part of a small group working on a common and important goal. Ask them to check out the Seminar website and tell them you'll follow up to see if they want to be part of a Seminar Group with you. Call them back in a few days, to answer questions and solicit a commitment.
We provide for review some tools for group work. The links are given below. These are lessons your facilitators learned during their professional experience with organizational development and group work. We suggest you print these out and go over their recommendations at the first meeting of your Seminar Group.
Next: Register for the Seminar