A Conversation Checklist - ?· A Conversation Checklist “Conversation” is another way to talk about…

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  • A Conversation Checklist Conversation is another way to talk about stories in action. It is perhaps one of the most powerful methods for change in the world. Different to discussion or debate, where people arrive defending what they already believe, being in a conversation requires curiosity and an openness to learning something new. When people are in conversation about what matters most to them, great things can happen.

    I work with people who realise that using the same old ways of meeting arent working anymore and are prepared to try something new to get different results. They are looking for a way to get others taking part and taking responsibility for change. They want to open the gates for new ideas and innovative collaboration. And they want to galvanise the potential in their teams, organisations and wider communities so that participatory leadership takes hold.

    Creating a compelling conversation requires creating the environment or the container for one to happen. You need:

    A reason to come together in the form of a great question or some kind of disturbance that wont let you alone. In Columbus, Ohio (http://www.ouroptimalhealth.net), for example, radical long-term social transformation is coming through gathering around the question: How can we provide sustainable, affordable healthcare for everyone in our community?

    Someone (and ideally more than one someone) who will be the core team holding this question for long enough to really work with it

    A compelling invitation to attract participants especially if youd like new faces or a diversity of participation at this conversation to a conversation that really matters to them

    A meeting process that creates a high level of trust and interaction leading to wise action, where conversation creates a community that gets results

    The courage to step into working with emergent space beginning with an idea of the destination, an openness to how the journey might unfold, and the desire to engage and involve everyone in getting there

    Here are some of the participatory methods you might want to have a look at. The Art of Hosting blends these methods to help people create conversations that really matter. I use all of these in my work:

    World Caf: http://www.worldcafecommunity.org Open Space Technology: http://www.openspaceworld.org Appreciative Inquiry: http://www.appreciativeinquiry.case.edu Circle work: http://www.peerspirit.com Art of Hosting: http://www.artofhosting.org

    Reaching your meeting goals Meetings and events can most productively be seen as containers for great conversations. A great conversation means people come together to learn in a way that positively and powerfully affects their actions from that point on.

    Most event organisers have similar goals in mind, whether they are creating an in-house meeting or a national conference. They want to:

    Build connection and community Create a place to share knowledge and activate

    wisdom, to balance information and participation Make it safe to grapple with challenges and make

    personal contributions, to move from conflict to higher ground

    Bring vision to the fore and have people clearly see how they can be part of it

    Give leaders a platform to lead, but also have a space for others to step up

    Get traction to move forward, faster Make the investment of coming together pay off Be able to participate the process supporting the

    group is in expert hands Not have to worry the process surrounding the

    event is in capable hands

    What do you want to achieve? Get clear on your intention first, then begin to construct your process. The last element is the talent -- who should appear in front of the group and why?

    This question applies both to internal and external people. How do you want to showcase your leadership talent? What about your groups skillbase or connectivity? Sometimes people have enough knowhow, but we really want to see their showhow. Construct your meeting accordingly.