How to build consensus
What is a consensus?
A consensus is an agreement in opinion about an issue. It helps build support for the planned activities.
Why build consensus?
It is important to build a consensus in order to develop a shared understanding and agreement of a theme.
How is consensus built?
1. Set basic rules of session:
2. Collecting input - Have participants write down on a card in one or two sentences their understanding of the point or task being discussed (e.g., problem, project goals, etc.).
3. Sorting input - Sentences are placed on a board and grouped. Commonalties of understanding as well as diversions from consensus become obvious - and become discussion points for further clarification.
Organization of a meeting
Consensus-building needs to be done in groups that are not threatened by any hierarchy in the group. Participants should not feel any intimidation but rather feel that they are sitting around the table as equals. If participants do not feel as equals around the table, they will not openly express their views, as they are conscious of more ‘senior’ staff, more ‘expert’ staff or outsiders being present.
To help resolve this possible obstacle, two options are available:
Prepared with input from M Bell, M Escalada, and D Shires