Friday, 15 February 2013

How to contribute at service meetings

It has been around eighteen years since I first attended an Intergroup meeting. Since then I have participated in many meetings at various levels of service in AA. I have observed carefully what helps and what does not. Set out below is a list of tips that help to ensure a smooth, good-natured, and effective service meeting.

1.     Never lose sight of primary purpose.
2.     Base your views on the Traditions and the Concepts as well as common sense.
3.     If you are ignorant of the Traditions, Concepts, and Service Handbook, keep your mouth shut.
4.     If you have no relevant experience, keep your mouth shut.
5.     Do not speak if you’re angry; even if you are right, your contribution will likely not bring progress.
6.     Say only what needs to be said, and by you, and right now.
7.     Do not shoot from the hip; consider what you are saying before you say it.
8.     Keep your contribution to the topic.
9.     Be brief.
10. Do not reiterate points others have made.
11. Allow others to have their turn.
12. Be positive, encouraging, enthusiastic, and cheerful about the endeavour under discussion—the glass is always half full.
13. Do not pick holes for the sake of picking holes; ask yourself 'how important is it?'
14. Be a flexible pragmatist, not a nit-picking lawyer or bleeding deacon.
15. Do not attack, retaliate, or defend.
16. Do not make anything personal; talk about the role and the duties, not the individual.
17. Express no opinion on outside issues.
18. Remember that Tradition Four may mean other groups or areas may legitimately do things differently.
19. Treat everyone as if they had the best of intentions; most do.
20. Take primary purpose, not yourself, seriously.

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