There are several things about the Occupy movement that have intrigued me over the past several months, one of which is the practice of hand signals that has developed. These hand signals are not totally unique to “Occupy” – some of them are familiar to folks in Quaker communities, hearing impaired communities, civil rights movements, and others. Now, because of the world-wide use of these non-verbal signals that communicate in any language, and promote group cooperation and respect, these signals have a powerful potential to influence how “business” is conducted. Here is a video explaining the basics:
Of course part of my interest in this particular aspect of the movement is related to my long-standing commitment to create ways of working in groups that are based on principles of Peace and Power. We have used a few hand signals in these groups, with the intention of turning away from practices of verbal interruption and out-shouting one another to gain the “chair.” The practice of hand signals, used in a context where everyone present understands what they mean and respects what is being communicated, literally turns things around in a positive, respectful way. We can all make this shift, in any group setting! I believe it will start to happen!