What Are Conversations for Change?
Project Connect uses a Living Room Conversation format to host events that facilitate greater understanding among the participants.
Briefly, these conversations can happen in homes, coffee shops, schools, churches, or anywhere groups of citizens can gather. The point of the conversation is to listen - not convert.
Living Room Conversations
Participants are seated in groups of 5-7 people. The Conversation Agreements, read aloud and agreed to by all, assure a safe and respectful environment. The selected topic is divided into 3-5 rounds of questions. Questions are designed to elicit the values and the personal stories that have lead each member to arrive at their ideas and political positions. The host serves as both facilitator and participant. There are over 70 topics to choose from, with the option of customizing the topic to your own group’s needs.
Living Room Conversations are a conversational bridge across issues that divide and separate us. They provide an easy structure for engaging in friendly yet meaningful conversation with those with whom we may not agree. These conversations increase understanding, reveal common ground, and sometimes even allow us to discuss possible solutions. No fancy event or skilled facilitator is needed.
Be curious and open to learning.
Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking. Enjoy hearing all points of view. Maintain an attitude of exploration.
Show respect and suspend judgment.
Human beings tend to judge one another; do your best not to. Setting judgments aside opens you up to learning from others and makes them feel respected and appreciated.
Find common ground and note differences.
Look for a common ground you can agree on and take an interest in the differing beliefs and opinions of others.
Be authentic and welcome that from others.
Share what’s important to you. Speak authentically from your personal experience. Be considerate of others who are doing the same.
Be purposeful and to the point.
Notice if what you are conveying is or is not pertinent to the topic at hand.
Own and guide the conversation.
Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and that of the conversation. Be proactive in getting yourself and others back on track if needed.