how to organize house meetings in a communal home

arranging a meeting that everyone can make can be a hassle in a communal home, however, staying on top of routine house meetings can maintain organization and limit conflict. at orange moon, we have a monthly house meeting to discuss updates/repairs to the physical house, important dates around or in proximity to the house, requests to modify a house agreement, conflicts that may have come up, etc. what i learned after holding meetings for about a year and a half is that everyone must come to the meeting with an objective that EVERYONE WINS. this is something i did not always get at first, but after reading more about how consensus building works, i learned that everyone can get what they want, it's not black or white, or yes or no; we got options kinfolk. (i will talk about that another time!) for now let's focus on how to organize house meetings.

 

ONE, schedule an initital house meeting. let your housemates know you want to start having house meetings and why (speak broadly, not about anything specific). and tell them you will share a document with them so they can add anything to the agenda that they want to discuss the the first meeting. this is also a great time to determine their availability so you can determine a meeting date. you can figure this out verbally, by text, or using an online app like whenisgood.

 

TWO, share the meeting date and agenda document with all roommates and give them 3-7 days to add agenda items. be sure to add tournaments own items to the agenda.  if there are any schedule conflicts try to adjust the meeting time so that everyone can attend.

 

THREE, the meeting will require four roles: facilitator, host, notetaker, and time keeper. depending on the number of housemates you may have to condense roles and rotate the roles for each meeting for a shared load. here’s descriptions for each role.

 

THE FACILITATOR

They should understand each agenda item prior to the meeting (what is the purpose of this agenda item? Who put it here and are they prepared to speak? How will it flow? How long will it take?). They should make suggested time length for each agenda item before the meeting, and add it in parenthesis next to each agenda item. This person should help clean dishes after the meeting.

THE HOST

This person makes dinner and keeps a check-in for meeting. Create a “check-in” for the space (and a check out if they want to). Throughout the meeting support with asking folks if they alright, recommending a break if needed, getting people water, etc. If this person buys food instead of using existing pantry items, they should request approximately $5 from the other housemates for an affordable dinner. This person doesn’t have to help with cleaning the dishes, but can help if they want to.

THE NOTETAKER
This person takes notes in the agenda document, being sure to capture people’s main
points, proposals, thoughts on proposals and approvals. Within the agenda doc, the notetaker should assign tasks to the people that volunteer to complete specific tasks throughout the meeting. Right after the meeting this person should send a follow up email, highlighting the action items and important dates/details from the meeting.

THE TIMEKEEPER

This person makes sure the meeting agenda items are within their designated time frames, and announces to the group when they have gone over time. They should reset timer for additional time when requested by the group. This person should help clean dishes after the meeting.

 

FOUR, host the meeting and cover all your agenda items, identify next steps, and determine the frequency and next date for second house meeting.

 

FIVE, repeat at a frequency that has been agreed on by all housemates. 


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