Five ways to get lost in a meeting… or what to do if you do

It’s easy to get lost or side-tracked in a meeting! Here’s how not to get lost … or at least how to find your way back pretty fast!

Below is a list of typical behaviors that slow down meetings. They are common. They are wide-spread and omnipresent.

Learn to notice them in real-time and you will become a better facilitator instantly!

1. Aimless meandering

Aimless meandering is quite common. So common that I guess most people don’t even notice it. Its symptoms are when we talk for a while, and then we move on to the next topic. No decision, no next step…


What can natural languages teach us about self-governance?

When two humans talk, they use language to make sense of the world and to connect. Language works in all kinds of ways:

  • People use language to describe the world around them and align their description of the world. This coat is brown, and I think it’s faux fur.
  • Words also serve to make requests or utter directives: Wear a hat and gloves!
  • Sometimes we do things with words, for example when I say I promise to give your hat back — the moment I’m saying this, I am making a promise. …


Different mindsets to forward motion and reflection

Every set of people and every process will have — at least — two energies. One is around product and progress — when people want to get things done out in the world. The other is about process and inclusion, more focused towards each other and inwards. My assumption is that they are distinct yet hard to describe.

  • The ‘product’ energy is narrow-focused, left-brained, outward-focused, goal-driven, rational, language-based, assertive. Maybe some people would call this ‘masculine’ energy.
  • The ‘process’ energy has a wider focus, it’s right-brained, inward-focused, inclusive, sensing, reflective, more emotional, nurturing. Some people might call the energy ‘feminine’…


On what basis do we decide salaries in sociocracy? Is it based on the sum of all roles? Or by “position”? How does that work?

Introduction: salaries in sociocracy

Role-based systems like sociocracy and Holacracy raise questions around roles and salaries. For starters, in a role-based system, what’s your job? Is it the sum of all your roles? Or is there a “core set” of roles that make your job, give and take a few roles of a more temporary nature? After all, your roles might change over time — sometimes quite a bit. And what’s the basis for your salary? All the roles…


And why now?

2020 has been quite a year so far! As a parent, one of the most heartbreaking moments for me in these last months has been to see my kids trying to wrap their heads around the fact that grown-ups have no idea what’s going to happen. And I don’t mean 5 or 10 years into the future, I mean what’s going to happen in 6 weeks. Let me correct that — what’s going to happen in two weeks. Never mind. I mean this weekend.

Of course, we’ve always known that we only have today, and tomorrow is uncertain. But it’s…


An introduction to governance and sociocracy

Sociocracy is a governance system. We know, ‘governance’ doesn’t sound very appealing. It sounds dry and reminds us of governments and marble halls. What does it have to do with you? Quite a lot, actually!

Governance is the way we run groups, the operating system. Governance is not restricted to board rooms or the senate. No matter whether we care about governance systems, we are always answering the following questions:

  • who makes what decisions?
  • how do we make decisions for the group?

Let’s look at an informal ‘organization’ that we are all familiar with — a family. Families make a…


1. Introduction

1.1 Holacracy and sociocracy — likeness and differences

With complexity rising in all contexts in all sectors, decentralized self-governance systems have received more attention in recent years. Two big players in the field, and closely related, are Holacracy and sociocracy.

It seems to be almost universally true that if there are two players, we focus on their differences. Being a big fan of convergence and synergy, this has troubled me and others for a while — after all, Holacracy and sociocracy are very, very similar, especially compared to mainstream top-down hierarchies. This article is an attempt to map out the sameness of, and differences between, Holacracy and sociocracy…


Sociocracy is a governance system that helps groups do work together and make decisions together. The essence of sociocracy is “no one ignored”, or in the positive: all voices matter.

As a social technology optimized for voice, empowerment, and human connection, it naturally attracts people who care about collaboration in groups. And since many people care about collaboration in groups, those groups can easily get big! Yes, sociocracy is clearly designed for any number of people operating and meeting in small groups. It was never intended for meetings of groups of 30 or 50 people!

I cannot talk about the small group/large group topic without saying a few words about why we don’t meet in large groups if we can avoid it. …


Sociocracy and Nonviolent Communication are often used together. For a good reason! The essence of Nonviolent Communication is “Everyone’s needs matter”. The essence of sociocracy is “every voice matters” — sounds pretty similar, doesn’t it?

In this article, I want to show how they share the same foundation and how they complement each other. (I’ll assume familiarity with the two frameworks but you can see a short summary of each model below. Feel free to skip the summaries if you’re familiar.)

Nonviolent Communication® (NVC), developed by Marshall Rosenberg in the 1960ies, offers a model that helps us understand why people do what they do: each individual has basic needs, like to matter, to be known, hope, purpose, choice, contribution, appreciation, love, connection, joy. Those needs are universal, which means every human being needs them and…


I’m in virtual meetings every day. Here is why I love them

While it is true that hanging out with real people is much more fun than staring at a screen, I actually find decision-making meetings on zoom much more productive than in-person meetings! Here is why:

1. More focus

More people are more focused: we all have the agenda and the live minutes in front of us. Everyone can follow exactly how we’re progressing. We’re all more accountable — and we can change things on the fly and stay accountable. And there is something about the written word that helps us stay on track.

2. More order

There is not as much cross-talk: in our practice, we…

Ted J Rau

Sociocracy, Non-Violent Communication, Linguistics

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