Core Conversation is a facilitated group experience event. This event is built on dignity and respect for ourselves and all other human beings. Such dignity and respect is not easy, though it does come naturally, we’ve forgotten how to both offer ourselves and others the level of respect we all deserve – regardless of the fallaciousness, or perfection of our viewpoint.
This is why we are using challenging subjects as the object of our discussion. Since the challenge is framed in a structured and safe way, the dignity comes naturally. Through such participation, and respect we trust that the creation of such honored space moves out in the world. We know that the conversation does not end what the close of the session. We have dozens of conversations every day – each is unique and it’s own.
Core Conversations though is a little different. The structure we use taps into the natural respect for ourselves and others in a few ways.
- The 90 minute session is divided into three basic parts
- Opening – everyone has approximately 3 minutes to talk about themselves as relating the the topic
- Body – this is a ‘popcorn’ conversation, where we address specific points brought up by listening, and have the opportunity to ask questions of others
- Closing – a brief reflection and analysis of benefit and insight
- Each session is loosely facilitated
- Each session is framed with positive intention, and closed with intention
- Each session is based around a pre-selected socially relevant topic
The structure allows the group to honor and police itself with very minor facilitation work by the moderator.
Conversation is the middle ground. This middle ground is a very valuable place, and we should cultivate our ability to meet others in this very sacred space. Core Conversation™ is program and aspiration to establish middle ground, to bring rational human beings together, and empower intelligent conversation. The below subjects will be our group discussion ennui.
· Bias Against Women
· Polarized Politics
· LBGT Rights
· Hunger in America
· Sexual Taboos
· Religion in America
· Legislating Morality
· Global Economy
· Ideology and Belief Systems
· Origins of Our Core Values
· Disparity of Income
These are most difficult things to discuss. However if we avoid talking about them, our inability to articulate allows that very uncertainty and nervousness to govern our behavior. We’re better than that. Gathering as a group of intelligent, curious individuals, with respect to one another, it is possible to peel back that taboos of belief systems, and converse openly about the sentiment of our concepts.
With this in mind we are establishing a group of individuals interested in debate founded in respect, kindness and playfulness. Currently in the most formulative of phases, all input is welcomed and will be considered in the growth of this community.
Currently we are deciding upon our model – to be formal or informal – our place of meeting, our manner of discussion, and brainstorming how we balance friendship, and creating a safe place.
Anyone that would like to get involved early, the more you share, the more you will be able to influence, and if you are willing to back up your ideas with actions and compassion, we dearly want your contribution.
The Rules; ensuring respect
- Goal: Promote understanding and appreciation for divergent perspectives on today’s more controversial social, political, religious and other random issues.
- Not a goal: Get people to necessarily change their minds and win them over to your side. This should not be about winners and losers. People need to own their beliefs and feelings and allow their opinions to evolve as they see fit.
- Gound rules:
o Respect each person’s unique perspective.
o Participants may not attack or criticise another participant.
o Only one person at a time talks.
o Time limit for each turn will be strictly enforced.
o The person who is speaking may end their turn at any time before the time limit is up.
o The person who is speaking should plan their time to finish thoughts before their time is up.
o Keep an open mind to better understand what you hear.
o What is said in the space stays in the space.
o The group may add additional ground rules at any time based on consensus of the group (no votes against).
o A participant may be asked by the facilitator to leave the group only if that person does not, after one warning, continue to obey the ground rules.
o Group is open to the public but each session is limited to ten people on a first-to-register basis. Sessions may also be open to a limited number of passive participants or listeners who may not speak other than to introduce themselves.
o Past participants may invite one other person to join them for a session.
o Additional sessions may be scheduled if there is sufficient interest.
o Faciliators are designated by the organizers of these conversations.
o Each conversation will have a designated facilator who may also participate in discussions or be a passive listener.
o The facilitator states the topic for this conversation which has been announced in advance.
o The facilitator goes first or selects another person to go first at her/his discretion.
o The facilitator will show a clock that everyone can see that tracks the time for each turn.
o During their first turn, each person will have up to 3 minutes to:
- Introduce themselves,
- State their position on the stated topic as clearly as they can, and
- Pass the talking stick to the person on their left (until everyone as had an initial turn to speak)
o After the first round, when a participant is given a turn to speak, that person may (within a 2-minute time limit):
- Clarify something they said earlier,
- Add an additional perspective on the topic,
- Ask a clarifying question of someone else, and/or
- Request that a new ground rule be considered.
o At the end of their turn, the person who is speaking will hand the talking stick to another person of their choosing who indicates (by raising their hand) that they would like a turn to speak. Exceptions are:
- If a clarifying question is asked of another person, the talking stick must be passed to the person being questioned for an opportunity to respond. However, a response is not required.
- If a request is made to consider a new ground rule, the talking stick must be passed to the facilitator.
o The session ends at a predetermined time
LINKS TO EVENTS
If you have anything you would like to contribute or query, please e-mail Michael Steeves at firstname.lastname@example.org