Topic Neutral Materials
|General Packet||Participant Packet and Conversation Guide for Topic of Your Choice|
|Invitation Sample||Invitation Sample|
A Living Room Conversation between people that have differing viewpoints provides an opportunity for understanding… collaboration… innovation… solutions and new friendships. We have developed materials for a growing number of issues over the last two years and we are excited about having that issue list grow, benefiting from the wisdom of citizens all around this country. Below you will find the basic Living Room Conversations materials with blank areas for you to fill in with questions suitable for the issue you would like to have a conversation about. If you would like advice or would simply like to discuss an idea about adapting these materials for your a conversation that you want to host please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are learning that Living Room Conversations provide a safe container for talking about all sorts of issues and can be co-hosted by a wide variety of people. All that is required is a shared willingness to abide by the conversation ground rules and the desire to have a meaningful conversation. In some cases carefully developed materials are provided ahead of time, in others people coming to the conversation share articles or data they think would be helpful, understanding that different people may trust different sources. This is all part of learning about each other.
We've learned that when bringing together people that are at odds about many issues it can be helpful for the first conversation to be about an issue where there is reason to think the participants will find a significant amount of common ground. It is easier to tackle the tough issues once you have established a basis of appreciation and trust. Then, when an issue being discussed is complex and a core of people are intent upon developing a collaborative solution, a Living Room Conversation group may at some point choose to transition to a facilitated conversation. Living Room Conversations are a wonderful way to get a diverse group of people to begin to build trust and relationships. Once people have established respectful caring relationships much becomes possible.
Rounds/Questions: The Living Room Conversation Starts Here
A Living Room Conversation flows through 5 rounds of questions and the closing. During some rounds, each question will be addressed. In other rounds, the multiple questions are intended as conversation starters and you need only respond to the one or two that matter the most to you. In the event the conversation wanders off track, we will refer to this Conversation Guide to get it back on track.
Round One: Getting Started / Why Are We Here?
● What interested you or drew you to this conversation?
Round Two: Hopes and Concerns for The Future
Answer one or more of the following:
● What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
● What would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you “tick”?
● What most concerns you about your community and/or the country right now and long-term?
Round Three: What are your biggest concerns about the topic area selected?
Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer one or more of the following questions:
● When it comes to this topic area, what are you most concerned about right now?
● What is your personal, family or friend’s experience that informs your beliefs about this topic?
● Where is it on your top-10 list? Why?
Round Four: What Are We Learning Here?
Answer one or more of the following questions:
● In one sentence, share what was most meaningful / valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation.
● What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on this topic?
● Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
Round Five: Accomplishment and Next Steps
Answer both of the following questions:
● What is one important thing you thought was accomplished here?
● Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?
Closing – Thank you! Please complete the feedback form (attached) to help improve Living Room Conversations.