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Interrelating Viewpoints in Complex Meetings

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Interrelating Viewpoints in Complex Meetings
Type of meeting
Distinguishing basic points (1)
Relationships between basic points
Allocating significance to display possibilities
Use in practice
Further possibilities
An alternative approach
References

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Produced with assistance from David Horton Smith and published in Transnational Associations 30, 1978, 12, pp. 542-548 [PDF version]. Paper presented to the workshop on new forms of presentation (Geneva, February 1979) of the Goals, Processes and Indicators of Development (GPID) project of the United Nations University, Human and Social Development Programme.

Summary

Horus stands for: Holistic Overview and Representation of Underlying Structure. This note responds to the problem encountered in meetings of many kinds when a complex of interrelated issues is discussed by participants having very different standpoints and approaches. Usually each participant's contribution is received politely, but very little is achieved towards linking it to others presented, especially when the papers and presentations are lengthy and somewhat difficult to digest. No satisfactory integrating perspective exists (a) to guide the evolution of the meeting; (b) to help participants to see the points of agreement and disagreement in context, or (c) to show participants what they have achieved (or failed to achieve). The note outlines a proposed method for maintaining and developing, during the course of a meeting, a visual representation or overview of the basic substantive points which are determining the evolution of the meeting. The method is presented here in a way which permits one or more different methods of representation to be selected for use on a particular occasion, depending on need.