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video conversations

how to have a video Living Room Conversation

The beauty of video is that you can have a Living Room Conversation with someone across the street and someone across the country at the same time.

Have you always wanted to talk to Aunt Rose about her feelings on The American ͐͐Dream? Or maybe talk to your old college roommate about some other hot topic? Imagine both of you getting a couple of friends together for a video Living Room Conversation - what fun!

Currently we use Zoom technology to bring 4-6 people together for a conversation. Remember the Brady Bunch? Well it looks something like that (without “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha” ruining everything for Jan and everybody else!). 

You’ll need a webcam and a computer, tablet, or smartphone and about 90 - 120 minutes. Have your topic materials close at hand either on another open tab on your computer or device, or printed out for your reference.




If you are the host/co-host, before the video conversation:

  • Invite participants with diverse perspectives (e.g. differences in political leaning, age, gender, race/ethnicity, etc.). 4-6 people is ideal for a video conversation.

  • Contact Mary@livingroomconversations.org with a date/time request (specify time zone). You will receive a Zoom link to share with participants to access the conversation once scheduled.

  • Send your specific topic materials link to participants and let them know that it may be helpful for them to read through the conversation guide beforehand (knowing what the questions are can help with expectations).

  • Assure participants that you are interested in their personal perspectives, not how much they know about a subject.

Immediately before beginning your video conversation:

  • Position yourself so you are not backlit (e.g. avoid sitting in front of a window).

  • Connect to the conversation using a device with a strong internet connection.

  • Using headphones plugged into your computer can enhance your audio experience.

  • Try to minimize environmental distractions (e.g.barking dogs, ringing phones, etc). If you  have unexpected noise, please mute yourself until things quiet down.

  • About 10 minutes before the video conversation click on the Zoom link and download the Zoom application. 

Beginning the video conversation:

  • Make introductions and take care of any housekeeping items.

  • Read the topic opening paragraph (from the conversation guide).

  • Have each person read a ground rule aloud until they have all been read.

  • Begin your conversation with round 1 and continue through all rounds

  • Be attentive to all participants getting a chance to speak each round (this may involve “calling on” participants and/or noticing if participants  raise their hands).

  • At the end of the conversation, please share the Feedback form link with participants and ask them to fill it out immediately so we can continue to improve Living Room Conversations.

After the video conversation:

  • We’d love to hear how it went and how we can improve the experience.

  • If someone in your group enjoys writing, invite them to write a blog about the experience and we’ll share it with others.

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