Meeting Guidelines

Green Acton Meeting Ground Rules
Approved at February 2018 Meeting

Consensus requires bringing all of our best thinking to bear on identifying how the group will proceed on any given question or issue. Each group has its own way of accomplishing this. Below are some meeting guidelines focused on how participants and the facilitator at Green Acton meetings can work together well.

Participant Responsibilities

  • arrive and start on time
  • be respectful
  • ask for clarification if confused
  • raise hand to speak, unless the facilitator indicates a different process
  • to correct an error of fact or a critical omission, use two index fingers pointing alternately to and away from the speaker
  • to ask for clarification, use a “C” symbol formed with one hand
  • respect the role of the facilitator


  • Green Acton makes decisions by consensus with a fallback to voting, as described in our bylaws.
  • One of the facilitator’s jobs is to recognize and voice emerging agreement.
  • When Green Acton is making a decision at a meeting, the facilitator looks to discuss concerns, and to identify achievement of consensus. Consensus decision making for Green Acton means one may:
    1. agree that the proposed decision/action is in the best interests of GA,
    2. disagree strongly enough to block the decision/action, or
    3. not necessarily agree, but choose not to block the action (sometimes called “standing aside”).
  • The facilitator will:
    1. interrupt repetition
    2. keep people on topic
    3. use “stacking” (keeping track of the order in which people have raised hands to speak)
    4. generally call on speakers in tracked order, but may deviate to ensure that those not yet heard from have an opportunity, or to give a chance for a direct response to an incorrect statement of fact

Structural Features

  • start each agenda item with a brief statement of goals and process
  • end each agenda item with a quick review of next steps and who is taking them
  • end each meeting with a brief process checkout

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