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What are the major benefits of
Cooperative Conversations over conventional meeting processes?

Greater clarity of focus; decisions which are wiser, since they combine the wisdom of all participants; a considerable increase in morale; substantial cost savings brought about by savings in time, increased productivity, team-building as a bi-product and greater willingness to engage and commit.

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Do Cooperative Conversations allow for a diversity of views?

Definitely.  The beauty of Cooperative Conversations is that a broad range of views is encouraged.  And in offering these alternate views, the respectful nature of the process permits a smorgasbord of ideas rather than a contest of personalities.

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Why do Cooperative Conversations take less time?

‘Cooperative Conversations’ take substantially less time because of their transparent and disciplined structure.  Decision processes enable complex decisions to be reached rapidly and wisely, whilst considering all facets, with no discussion at all.  The processes are as effective as they are counterintuitive.

Diversity in seating increases learning and energy.

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How can an effective meeting have no discussion?

By deconstructing a meeting or conversation into its component parts, examining each part, discarding elements that are not helpful and refining those that are, a new effective, efficient and respectful form of meeting or conversation emerges.  Discussion disappears, to be replaced by processes that work even better.

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How many participants can a ‘Cooperative Conversation’ handle?

In principle, there is no limit to the number of people who can participate in a ‘Cooperative Conversation’.  People work in table groups of six.  There can be any number of these groups, all working on the same topic, or working on separate topics of common interest.  After small group work is completed, small groups report back to each other.  It is logistics that will limit the size.  Considerations are available time, room size, and the quality of audiovisual support.

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How can Cooperative Conversation techniques be introduced into a group that has not experienced them?

Cooperative Conversations are different from most people’s prior experience.  People are most likely to be interested when there is a level of dissatisfaction with present meeting formats.  When the dissatisfaction is expressed, offer people an alternative.  Then introduce the tools.

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Where can the ‘Cooperative Conversations’ skills be used?

Meetings of any type

We had our first team meeting this morning and we used some of the strategies from Ian's session last Friday.  It worked!!!  Rather than going up to half and hour overtime, we finished 15 minutes in front with twice as much content covered.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Chris Parker – Queensland Education


You would be very happy to know your modus operandi of ‘Cooperative Conversations’ is taking hold around the world.  It has become the norm for our national conference, the International Contemporary Scholars Conference and other ad hoc forums we hold around the country.  I believe it has been transformational in the way we engage with our stakeholders.

Jim Geltch – Nuffield Australia

Team Building

Last week I finally had the opportunity to hold a meeting using those tools.  I wanted to thank you.  I couldn't believe how well it all went - how much small group chatter it created, great brainstorming sessions, and how every participant at the end felt that they had been "heard" and included in the decision-making.

Jacqui Ferro – Department of Education and Training

Conflict resolution

Multiple meetings had been held previously with very little or nothing achieved.  In some cases, participants had walked out in sheer frustration or in anger.  Whilst participants began your workshops with little familiarity with the ‘tools’ you taught and in some perhaps a fair degree of negativity, they responded well and adapted quickly to the new format.  All three workshops I believe have achieved outcomes that are supported by all attendees.  This was an achievement I did not think possible prior to becoming familiar with your methods.

Michael Pisano- Canegrowers Herbert River

Strategic planning

To no small degree, I believe the success of the series of Steering Committee meetings is due to your ‘Cooperative Conversations’ approach, which has provided the group with the tools needed to make decisions in an informed, inclusive and efficient fashion.

Vicki Lane – Department of Agriculture