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Consensus Guidelines

When a group works toward finding a solution with which everyone can agree that group is working to reach consensus. Here are some guidelines to reaching consensus:

Patience
Everyone must be patient if they agree to reach a decision or solution by means of consensus. Consensus takes longer than voting because everyone must be part of, understand and agree with the decision or solution being made.

Unity
Everyone realizes that they are together to come up with a solution that the whole group can accept.

Cooperation
It is important that everyone's ideas, feeling and needs are heard and understood.

Diversity
People will likely disagree on issues. It is important to listen to everyone's point of view and to see the truth and value in what everyone has to say.

Creativity
In the process of reaching consensus new ideas and viewpoints, which perhaps no one had thought of earlier, are born as a result of everyone sharing their ideas.

Building Bridges
When two people have vastly different points of view, it is often helpful for a third person to paraphrase each persons point of view and to show areas where the two people's ideas converge. Consensus is a process of building bridges between people.

Suggested Process

1. Write the problem on the board for everyone to see.

2. Privately, everyone writes their ideas for the solution on a piece of paper.

3. Individually, people share their ideas. No cross talk.

4. One person writes similarities and differences the group has on the board.

5. The group discusses the differences and works toward reaching agreement.

6. A solution is reached and is written on the board.

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