Adding New Items To The Parking Lot

Adding New Items To The Parking Lot
As I mentioned in a prior post (, the purpose of a Forum Parking Lot is to keep an ongoing log of topics that someone might be able to present on to the group. Sometimes these topics are challenges a member is facing and needs feedback, sometimes it’s something a member is an expert on and can teach the group, and sometimes it’s a group topic that several members want to learn about together. But how do topics get added to the Parking Lot during the meeting? Most of the topics that get added to a Parking Lot come from the Monthly Reflections. Here’s a process your Forum can follow to add new items to the Parking Lot.
  1. While a person shares their Monthly Reflection, have the Parking Lot Keeper record as many possible topics to the Parking Lot. This will save time for step two.
  2. After the person finishes sharing their Monthly Reflection, go around the Forum once and allow each person to share one item they heard from the Monthly Reflection that they think should go into the Parking Lot for this person. Here are some things to note during this process:
  • Restate as close to the actual words used by the person instead of your interpretation.
  • Each person should address the Parking Lot Keeper and keep the person in question in the third person. The sentence structure sounds like this, “I heard him/her say [insert their words].”
  • It’s also ok to state the absence of words such as, “I didn’t hear him/her talk about [insert their words from a prior month].” This is used to address the fact that maybe something was big last month but not even mentioned this month.
  • It’s ok for someone to say “pass” or “repeat” if it gets to them and they don’t have any more to add.
  • There is no need to capture EVERY topic, so only go around the Forum once, and each person should share only one item. This will be enough to easily fill up a Parking Lot.
  • When sharing an item, keep it short and to the point. No need to add pre/postamble to the main point.
  • The Parking Lot Keeper should only put a few words per topic into the Parking Lot as a placeholder. We aren’t trying to figure out the root issue at this stage. That comes later when the person works with a coach for their presentation.
  • If the group didn’t address all the times that the Parking Lot Keeper listed during Step one, then the Parking Lot Keeper can make a choice to keep the items or delete them from the Parking Lot.

3. The final step is for the person to rate each item in their Parking Lot based on importance to them and urgency to present to the group. This rating is only done for the challenges someone is facing, not the topics they did well and could teach the group. I wrote about this process in another post here (

Some groups are doing the third step individually right after step two. This takes time but allows everyone to hear a person’s rating for each topic. Other groups are waiting until everyone has gone, and then the whole group goes into the Parking Lot and inputs their ratings on their own at the same time. This saves time but doesn’t allow for each other to verbally hear ratings.

The process of managing the Parking Lot as the Parking Lot Keeper can be intense as it involves listening, filtering, and recording in real-time. With that said, I tell groups to always give the Parking Lot Keeper the benefit of the doubt if they don’t perfectly capture an item.