FAQ for Living Room Conversations
Why are Living Room Conversations are the way they are?
The rationale behind Living Room Conversations is to increase understanding, reveal common ground and allow us to discuss possible solutions. No fancy event or skilled facilitator is typically needed. When people of all walks of life begin to care about one another, they can begin working together to solve the wicked problems of our time.
How do I find a cohost?
Cohosts are best when they have a different perspective from you. Think about your friends with whom you have respectful disagreements.
Who should I invite?
Think about people who are interested in having meaningful conversations about our world. The conversations are richest and most fun when there’s diversity of perspective. Think about many kinds of differences- age, gender, culture, politics and more. You may be surprised at the range of opinion on a particular topic in a group that seems homogeneous.
Do I have to provide food? Or beverages?
While you don’t need to provide food or beverages, having those available is a hospitable gesture that supports conversation. When we share snacks together, we tend to be more sociable. Having a potluck or meeting at a coffee shop can work.
Where can a Living Room Conversation happen?
Living Room Conversations can happen anywhere a small group of people groups can gather in a comfortable and relatively private space. You can even gather online using platforms like Zoom or Google Hangout.
Can I set up a community meeting?
Absolutely! Community meetings are happening in several places in the country. We’ve developed a guide based on our experience that can help you plan.
Can I host in a public space?
What’s most important is being in a space where you and the group feel safe to have a conversation that explores your values and opinions. It’s also important that your conversation be in a place where others are not disturbed. Someone’s home may be the best place. Sitting under a tree in a park or in a coffee shop may feel just right.
Do we need a facilitator?
The only facilitator you need is a copy of the conversation guide and the ground rules for each person. Everyone in the group is responsible to own and guide the conversation. This said, with a video Living Room Conversation it is often helpful to have one of the hosts get things started and watch the time so that the conversation can end when agreed upon.
How much does it cost to use Living Room Conversation materials?
The materials are absolutely free! Living Room Conversations is an open source project. Please use, share and modify with attribution to www.LivingRoomConversations.org.
Where are the conversation guides?
The conversation guides--more than 60 of them!--are found under topics on the website.
What are the guidelines?
The guidelines are six common sense ground rules for engaging in a respectful conversation that supports openness and curiosity rather than debate. They let people know what is expected of them and create a safe environment for a great conversation. The ground rules are found at get started on the website and are available as the first page of the conversation guides under topics. They include:
Be curious and open to learning
Show respect and suspend judgment
Look for common ground and appreciate differences
Be authentic and welcome that from others
Be purposeful and to the point
Own and guide the conversation
Can I observe a Living Room Conversation first?
You can watch or listen to a Living Room Conversation online. The best way to learn about Living Room Conversation is to participate in one.
Can I watch a Living Room Conversation online?
What do I do if I want to have a conversation on a topic that’s not listed?
If you don’t see a conversation guide that fits the topic you’d like to discuss, the build your own page can help you design your own Living Room Conversation.
What do we do after the conversation?
You can help Living Room Conversations grow and expand by completing our feedback form or by writing a blog telling us about your experience. We’d love to see photos of your group and to hear your suggestions for topics you’d be interested in hosting