NOMAS Process Guidelines (from the NOMAS By-Laws)

8.5  NOMAS Process Guidelines

8.5.1 Interrupting Speakers    It is almost always inappropriate and disrespectful to interrupt a person who has not finished speaking.  We agree to be especially careful not to begin speaking until the previous speaker has finished. Conversely, we agree to remember when we are speaking that others in the room are waiting, and not to extend our comments unnecessarily.

8.5.2 Equal Opportunity to Be Heard   Care should be taken that all members of the group have an equal opportunity to be heard.  While it is inevitable that some people will speak more than others, the group should be alert to efforts to speak by anyone who has not done so.  In the event that several members  wish to address an issue, those who have previously spoken less should be recognized before those who have spoken more.  Members who are naturally “talkative” should not feel apologetic about this, but should monitor their own speaking behavior during meetings in order to give others an opportunity.

8.5.3 Constructive Criticism     We agree that constructive criticism is an essential part of the process of political discussion.  Restrained politeness is as oppressive as unrestrained criticism.

8.5.4 No Personal Attacks   We agree to criticize the act or idea, and not the person. Personal attacks are worse than useless, they are oppressive and unfair.

8.5.5 Positive Appreciations   We agree to freely give, and to accept, positive appreciations.  This is important in breaking competitiveness and in building trust.  We agree to listen fully to appreciations, refusing them if they don’t feel right, but letting them in and enjoying them if they feel appropriate.

8.5.6 Concrete Criticisms    We agree to avoid criticisms that use generalities without referring to specifics.  Criticisms should be as concrete and specific as possible.

8.5.7 Specificity of Solutions   We agree to avoid criticism which says only what not to do, rather than saying what to start doing.  Criticism should point to specific  ways the person or group could change, if they agree that the  criticism is valid.

8.5.8 No Personal Devaluation    We agree to try to hear criticisms as statements about the criticizer’s experience, not as the whole truth.  It is as important for people not to devalue themselves when hearing criticism as it is for them not to devalue someone else when giving a criticism.

8.5.9 Encourage Requests for Appreciation and Support    We agree that people are encouraged to ask for appreciation and support when they want it.  Rather then “Every man for himself”, people should try to take care of each other, and also of themselves.

8.5.10 Public Processing of Issues    We agree that people are encouraged to check out assumptions or hunches that they may have made about other people.  For example: “I have a hunch that you’re hurt and angry because I spoke against your point, am I right about that?”  Private processing thus becomes public, so people can respond to real issues and real feelings.  We agree to recognize and validate “grains of truth”, when someone checks out their hunches with us.

8.5.11 Self-Criticism     If we have played any part in a problem we are criticizing, we agree to give self-criticism along with criticism.