Public Lab Research note

Communication Guidelines from the Wisconsin Grassroots Festival

by mathew |

Read more:

I attended a workshop on communication run by social worker Sarah Shatz at the Wisconsin Grassroots Festival. She had some excellent conversation guidelines that I took note of:

Conversational guidelines for meetings

  • Share from personal experience
  • Listen, be curious, and learn
  • Experience discomfort
  • Connect with your body
  • Be aware of what emotions come up
  • Be brief to intentionally share space
  • Pass if you want to
  • Stay engaged and trust the process
  • Be courageous and vulnerable
  • We are all learners together
  • Expect and accept unfinished business


In addition to these conversational guidelines, a participant explained an acronym and concept for negotiating that I appreciated. The term was BATNA, or Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. It apparently derives from a Harvard Business School negotiation tactic. The idea is to enter a negotiation with an idea of the best outcome that can be reached without agreement between negotiating parties. BATNA was brought up in relation to the idea of being 'coopted' by a stakeholder process into agreeing to reduce citizen demands for accountability, either in a pollution scenario or otherwise. The BATNA lets participants keep in mind that there are alternatives to an unwelcome agreement, and that negotiating isn't the only option.

community guidelines facilitation coc conduct code-of-conduct communication


You must be logged in to comment.