Middle class standard time and meeting facilitation

I finally plucked up the courage to update all the feeds in my feed reader. Of the 1000 or so new posts (it’s been a while), most are destined to gather dust or be deleted unread. Andrew Willis Garcés happens to be near the top of the pile, but don’t let that fact deter you from the excellent quality of his writing.

So, I’ve just read Recognizing Middle Class Standard Time (MST) and enjoyed it enough to click through to the original post Are You on Middle Class Standard Time?. Let’s just say I’m not going to share my results from the MST self-diagnosis quiz in the former post. But I will share his Principles for Abundance from the latter post – a useful reminder of what many of us already know, but don’t always practice:

Because working class cultures are much more diverse than middle class culture (a result of the middle class value on conformity), there isn’t, in my mind, a Working Class Standard Time – it varies greatly depending on the cultural context. But there are principles that have helped me facilitate from abundance rather than scarcity of time.

Model Working with Abundance instead of adding unneeded urgency or anxiety by referencing a short timeframe, I try to set a tone that communicates the value of pacing ourselves, acting deliberately and maintaining an awareness of the group’s overall quality of participation

Use Check-Ins – “It feels to me like we’re rushing through. My experience is that groups don’t make the best decisions when they’re in a hurry. Let’s take a minute to check-in about that. It’s true that we’ve set ambitious goals for ourselves, but it might not be the end of the world if we need to revise our timeline for reaching them.”

Build-In Long Breaks – all the conferences planned by working class people I’ve been to have included multi-hour lunch breaks or social time. It’s right there in the agenda

Don’t “Stretch” – if you think it might be a little too much in too little time, it probably is – don’t push it

Be Prepared to Narrow Your Goals – if I’m leading a workshop or meeting for a group I’m not familiar with, even if I’ve developed the agenda with people from that group, I assume that they  may need more time than we’ve allotted, and I come with a sense of which items we’ll drop if we get crunched for time