3.1(b) Bull’s-eye


To agree on a single issue that all the group believes in and wants to do something about.

You need

A pad of paper or post-its, some pens, a cup and a flat, empty space on the floor or table approximately two metres wide and about an hour.

What to do

Write down on pieces of paper or post-its up to five issues of local concern. Use a separate sheet for each.

On your floor or table, place a marker, like a book or cup, in the centre. Next, everyone in the group hands their sheets of paper to one person in the group. That person reads the sheets and decides which he or she thinks are the most important for the group to take action upon. Remember as you do this the learning from the last activity about weighing up speed, numbers who might benefit and the size of the impact your actions might have. He or she places their first choice nearest the marker and arranges the other sheets around it. The further away they are from the marker, the less important they are. The top five score points – five points for the top choice, four for the second placed one and so on.

All group members take it in turn to place the sheets around the marker, marking the scores. At the end of the activity, add up all the scores. It should be clear which issue or issues are most important to the group as a whole to act on.

What do you think?

Now is the time for discussion in the group. You can tell – from the scores – which the favoured issues are. But why have those particular issues been chosen? Is there an argument for those that haven’t been selected, or didn’t score very highly? If there is anything that individual members feel strongly about, then this is the time to air those points. It’s very important to give everyone a say.

Using the findings from the activity and your discussion, you should be able to decide on one issue that all the group believes is worth carrying forward. It is unlikely that 100 per cent of the group will agree 100 per cent with the choice, but is everyone willing to pull together to get the job done?

There are certain things to think about when selecting an issue in this way:

1. Knowledge – the group must share what it knows and make sure that everyone has the basic information needed.

2. Unity of voice – can the group really stand as one for this campaign, or are there some members who don’t feel so strongly about it? If so, how might the campaign be framed to include more wholeheartedly more of the group? For example, a problem with local transport might well be related to having better cycle paths, reducing traffic in town centres or environmental issues.

What next?

Be the devil’s advocate. You are almost certain to face opposition, so it is worth anticipating the counterarguments now. The better prepared you are, the more impressive and professional you will appear (even if you feel very nervous inside). What woulde success look like for the group? What are the most convincing arguments you might encounter from others? What line of defence will you take? You will have a chance to work on this later, but it is worth looking ahead to make sure you won’t run a mile in the opposite direction at the first obstacle.

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