- The context of the process in terms of other activities going on in the community is covered at each meeting.
- The “why” questions on the project are part of every meeting: Why does the company need the project? Why does it have to be located in our neighborhood? Why now? Answers are provided as questions are raised; they often lead to more and new questions.
- The criteria for the givebacks are discussed at every meeting. The participants want to ground specific givebacks against a set of guiding principles or criteria, which are refined during the course of the meetings.
- The givebacks themselves are discussed at every meeting. This begins with some starting ideas at the first session and evolves into a tight set that is then costed out for discussion.
- The evaluation of the givebacks is saved until the end by the group. They are discussed in relation to each other and as part of a larger package.
While most of these building blocks are likely to be present at each meeting, the elements that are emphasized are likely to shift over the course of the process. The table below illustrates where the focus was placed during four meetings in a case involving the siting of a power plant.
|Meeting 1||Meeting 2||Meeting 3||Meeting 4|
Another way to look at this is to see each meeting as a stage:
|Defining the problem and setting the context||Tentative acceptance and problem solving||Proposal clarification and evaluation||Respectful closure|
While in this particular case, each meeting moved along to the next stage, this isn’t always the case. A stage such as “Defining the problem” or “Tentative acceptance and problem solving” could go on for two or three meetings.