In principle, activities that contribute to good group decisions are not always
best done by the group as a whole. Often times information, ideas, and potential
solutions are all put on the table in such a tangled web that the group as a whole
can't make sense of them. Other times, emotions run high in the heat of debate and
cloud our ability to see clearly. Further, in the midst of lively discussion it's
often hard to discern our own thoughts and feelings.
When things are confusing and the group is in disarray, we are likely to be hugely
inefficient. We repeat ourselves, spin our wheels, and make clumsy progress in wrong
Take a break. When a group breaks for ten minutes or overnight or
puts an issue to rest until the next meeting, it gives time for things to settle
out and become clear. People chat informally in small groups and develop new understanding.
Group facilitators have time to organize information and proposals so that others
can make sense of it all. Emotions cool and personal views become clear. Time heals.
Taking a break is often the most efficient way to proceed. - Craig Freshley