THE WORKSHOP MANUAL

Why ‘CoOperative Conversations’ Work

Meetings can be frustrating, time consuming, and unproductive.

Few people have received any formal training in how to conduct a productive meeting.  Nor do individuals generally understand what effect their behaviour within meetings has on others.  While a meeting is a common activity in people’s private and work lives, and frequently a source of frustration, its design is given little conscious thought.  So people just bumble along, operating on automatic, behaving according to the rules acquired as children in the family or school-yard setting.  Or they mirror what their peers do.

The ‘Cooperative Conversations’ manual is written to provide you with an alternative to your past experiences of meetings.  Written for Chairs, Executives, Facilitators and others with responsibility for conducting effective meetings, it places all of the tools at your finger-tips.

What gets in the way of a productive meeting is commonly called ‘discussion’. 

The shortcomings of discussion have been neatly captured by Jonathan Swift, in 1738:

“an impatience to interrupt each other, and the uneasiness of being interrupted ourselves; flooding listeners with self-indulgent talk; overemphasising the importance of being witty; using jargon to show off; and the custom of pushing women aside during serious discourse.”

A Complete Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversations

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Imagine yourself as a ‘victim’ of this form of discussion.  Your commitment and ongoing participation is not an issue of logic; it is an issue of emotion.  There is an old adage that says:

‘I may not remember what you said to me, though I’ll always remember how you made me feel’.

Unfortunately, conventional meeting practices, for a whole host of reasons, result in negative feelings for many participants.

However, it does not need to be like this.  If our old ways of conducting meetings and reaching decisions are unsatisfactory, and result in negative feelings, perhaps we should seek a new way.  ‘Cooperative Conversations’ provide an alternative.

You are about to be introduced to a series of tools and techniques that will radically transform your meetings.  No, this is not another set of suggestions outlining the responsibilities of the Chair or how to accurately record minutes of the meeting.  Rather, informed by the science of psychology, these tools take you on an exciting voyage of discovery and liberation.

 
A difficult person is one whose behaviour differs from that we might wish for.
— COOPERATIVE CONVERSATIONS