adapt to children and families
"Real listening shows respect. It creates trust. As we listen, we not only gain understanding, we also create the environment to be understood. And when both people understand both perspectives, instead of being on opposite sides of the table looking across at each other, we find ourselves on the same side looking at solutions together". Stephen R. Covey
~ For many people the process is as important, and sometimes even more important, than the results. Everyone needs to be heard.
~ Serving refreshments or light snacks can open help to relax people and open communication.
~ Use common language. One of the most important building blocks of collaboration and consensus is communication. Sometimes our differences are magnified in the words we choose when we come together. At times this is because we get used to using certain words, phrases, or acronyms (words formed from the first letter of each word in a phrase such as USA), with our peers, because these words save time and helps us feel like we fit into a group. When we come together with other people from different backgrounds, we sometimes forget that others may not understand some of the language that we use. Sometimes, some people may use words, phrases, or acronyms, that others may not understand on purpose. This can be a way to appear superior to others or to hide behind language as a way of self-protection.
It is important to understand that we all have fears and concerns and that part of the purpose of this process is to overcome and move beyond fears and concerns together.
When meeting together, use words, and phrases that all will understand. Avoid acronyms. (Common language can include words, phrases, examples, and stories, which are familiar.)
~ Sometimes people don't feel comfortable sharing ideas in a group. Take time to solicit opinions and ideas one on one. Use surveys. Break into smaller groups to increase participation. Go around the group asking each person for an idea or their opinion. As people become more comfortable and feel safer with each other, participation will likely increase. Let everyone know that their opinion and contribution is valuable. Promote and encourage open dialogue.
~ Remember that language is more than just the spoken or written word. It is also the way words are spoken, timing, body language, and the way silence is used.
~ Use the media and other communication tools to communicate with stake holders outside of the collaboration. Some times members of the media are great additions to the collaboration/coalition.
~ Send letters, e-mails, agendas, notes, flyers, et. Etc. to other members of the coalition on a regular basis. Make phone calls and when possible personal visits to other members of the coalition to build relationships, keep people involved, and communicate.
~ Maintain strong and consistent communication with stake holders outside of the coalition/collaboration.