To find materials for Living Room Conversations, visit the Topics page.
Living room conversations are a wonderful way to identify common ground and build relationships with people in your community. In the course of a conversation, participants may identify challenges they wish to address together, but may not agree on how to do so. We encourage exploring other methods of facilitated dialog and deliberation processes. Living Room Conversations is but one tool in a rich tradition of collaborative problem solving.
The following grid is a simple guide to different types of dialogue processes. The National Coalition of Dialogue and Deliberation offers resources and experts in all types of dialogue process. Here is a link to their Beginner's Guide.
|Primary Intention/ Purpose||Engagement Stream||Key Features||Important When...|
|To encourage people and groups to learn more about themselves, their community, or an issue, and possibly discover innovative solutions||Exploration||Suspending assumptions, creating a space that encourages a different kind of conversation, using ritual and symbolism to encourage openness, emphasis on listening||A group or community seems stuck or muddled and needs to reflect on their circumstance in depth and gain collective insight.|
|To resolve conflicts, to foster personal healing and growth, and to improve relations among groups||Conflict Transformation||Creating a safe space, hearing from everyone, building trust, sharing personal stories and views||Relationships among participants are poor or not yet established and need to be. Issue can only be resolved when people change their behavior or attitude, expand their perspective, or take time to reflect and heal.|
|To influence public decisions and public policy and improve public knowledge||Decision Making||Naming and framing, weighing all options, considering different positions (deliberation), revealing public values, brainstorming solutions||The issue is within government's (or any single entity's) sphere of influence.|
|To empower people and groups to solve complicated problems and take responsibility for the solution||Collaborative Action||Using D&D to generate ideas for community action, developing and implementing action plans collaboratively||The issue/dispute requires intervention across multiple public and private entities, and anytime community action is important.|