Asian Arts Initiative has defined a set of principles--Community Agreements--that considers the community we are trying to cultivate and reflects the types of discussion we want to encourage. The goal is to establish a positive culture and environment.
Try on versus Rejecting.
Collaboration requires open exchange of ideas and opinions, and to consider both sides respectfully and meaningfully.
No shaming, blaming - yourself or others.
When emotions and personal attacks happen, it is easy to forget the end goal. Blaming yourself or others may cause unnecessary tension or distraction between individuals.
Use "I" statements. Speak your truth.
When the focus is on you, rather than condemning or blaming someone else for their actions, you express in a way that reflects how you experience a situation and how it affects you.
Understand the difference between intent and impact.
Sometimes things get lost in translation. A good communicator is aware of their intentions and also the type of impact they've made through the way in which they've spoken.
Move in, Move out.
Everyone has the opportunity to speak in the group. Space is not dominated by a few individuals.
I'm sorry/I feel uncomfortable.
To hold yourself and others accountable when someone's been compromised by a comment or action; meant to be used in the moment.
Be present; listen actively.
Active listening skills will allow individuals to communicate better with greater clarity and empathy.
To build trusting relationships and maintain a safe space environment for expression.
Lean into discomfort and each other.
When you lean into discomfort and each other, you are able to understand the situation better and acknowledge the discomfort, leading to the ability to move forward and tackle associated feelings.
Embracing paradox will allow you to create breakthroughs and not breakdowns. Plans might not always go as planned, and accepting the changes or unplanned will help you get closer to the goal.
Seek intentional learning, not perfection.
When tackling something new, remember everything is a learning curve. Perfecting every task is not feasible, rather, the positive attitude you take to approach the problem and improve is more important.
Lovingly name the elephants in the room. "Say the thing."
To avoid continual unnecessary tension and discomfort around the room. If there is a sense that everyone is thinking it, it most likely needs to be talked about.