Establishing expectations

Principles and norm setting

It is beneficial to construct with the group a set of principles that underpin the way the group will function. Once the principles are established, then you can decide on guidelines that people should follow when interacting with each other. This is also referred to as norm setting. Once norms have been agreed to, the group also needs to discuss what happens when these are not adhered to. It may be necessary to adjust a norm as the group realises that it does not fit with the way they would prefer to work. You can read in more detail about norm setting from an online article titled "Norms put the golden rule into practice for groups."

Task: Creating a set of norms
Below is a graphic recording created during a meeting that outlines the principles that were considered important during that session. Based on these principles, what do you believe a set of norms would be that could be developed from these

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Establishing the goals for the session

This may be done in negotiation with the participants on the day or it may be that the goals for the session are predetermined before you start. Whichever is the case, it is a useful exercise to establish and/or reinforce these before moving into the main part of the session. If participants feel they are consulted on the goals then they are likely to be more agreeable than if they feel they have no control or say in what happens. This can also be a useful time to clear up any misunderstandings that you or the group might have about the purpose for the session. This will reduce frustration as the session carries on.