Getting conversation flowing between group members can be hard sometimes. You want to offer somewhere members can feel comfortable sharing. This section shares some tips and tools to help you create the right environment.
Section 4B: Group agreements and how they can help your kinship peer support group
A group agreement can be a great tool to bring your group together, creating shared values and building trust.
What is a group agreement?
A group agreement is a set of guidelines or rules that the group develop together so everyone knows where they stand. It means the group have discussed and agreed how everyone should support one another, allowing everyone to feel confident to speak openly.
How a group agreement can help your group
Forming a group agreement benefits everyone in the group, including you as group leader. It can help by:
- creating mutual respect in the group
- ensuring everyone fully understands how important confidentiality is, so everyone can share openly
- respecting individuals’ opinions and values, but creating boundaries that they can’t impact on the group
- agreeing how the group communicates with one another so conversations feel balanced
- understanding how feedback is a positive thing in the group and can make the group stronger
- encouraging everyone to really listen to what others are sharing, so everyone feels truly heard
Group agreements in action
Rachael from Kinship and other group leaders share what a group agreement is, and some of the things they include in theirs.
Duration: 5 mins 24 secs
You might want to follow the steps below with your group to help prepare and create your group agreement:
- When you start your group it’s worth exploring some values that you think are important as group leader. Then you can revisit the activity below with the group.
- Give people notice that you will be discussing a group agreement at the next meeting. This means everyone understands that some time at the next meeting will be given to this activity. It also gives time for members to think about things before you discuss it.
- Gather your group at the meeting and introduce what a group agreement is and how it’s a useful tool for the group.
- Use the meeting guide you can download above to help you manage the group discussion. It shares the kinds of questions you can put to the group and how you can collect what everyone has said or shared.
- Draft the group agreement based on what everyone discussed and agreed at the meeting.
- Share the draft with the group and ask for feedback at the next meeting, or over message outside of the group. Adapt the agreement if you need to.
- Keep a copy available at every meeting. It’s important that new members can read through the agreement early on. These are the rules they will need to respect.
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