let's start

So, you have decided that you want to connect – with friends, family, colleagues, or, maybe even strangers? You have found Living Room Conversations and its vast resources and you are looking for just a quick breakdown of what a conversation looks like. You are in the right place!

What does it look like?

A Living Room Conversation involves four to six people sitting down for a structured conversation about an agreed upon topic. Friends with differing views on a topic may each invite two friends and host the conversation in a home. A library or faith community may host monthly conversations and invite community members to join.. These larger gatherings still break into groups of 4 to 6 people to have the conversation. Living Room Conversations work really well by video too and allow people to connect across distance. 

Who would you enjoy having a conversation with? Friends, family, neighbors? What are you curious about? Are there connections you would like to make or strengthen?

parts of a conversation

introductions

Some groups already know each other well, others may not know each other at all. The introduction covers the basics: share your name, where you live, and what drew you to the conversation.

conversation agreements

We have six conversation agreements that create the environment needed to foster connection and understanding. They also outline core “bridge building” skills you’ll be practicing during your conversation. We consider these our “secret sauce”.

Be curious and listen to understand. Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking. You might enjoy exploring how others’ experiences have shaped their values and perspectives.

Show respect and suspend judgment. People tend to judge one another. Setting judgment aside opens you up to learning from others and makes them feel respected and appreciated. Try to truly listen, without interruption or crosstalk.

Note any common ground as well as any differences. Look for areas of agreement or shared values that may arise and take an interest in the differing beliefs and opinions of others.

Be authentic and welcome that from others. Share what’s important to you. Speak from your experience. Be considerate of others who are doing the same.

Be purposeful and to the point. Do your best to keep your comments concise and relevant to the question you are answering. Be conscious of sharing airtime with other participants.

Own and guide the conversation. Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and the conversation as a whole. Be proactive in getting yourself and others back on track if needed. Use an agreed upon signal like the “time out” sign if you feel the agreements are not being honored.

question rounds

Round 1: 

Round 1 allows people to connect and share what’s important to them. It’s valuable to see each other through a sense of purpose, or hopes for family, or what a best friends would say about them. This round gives everyone a chance to talk about their values and introduce themselves more deeply. For those that already know each other it gives them an opportunity to learn something new. For people that don’t know each other, it gives the a chance to learn something about each other and build rapport.

Round 2:

This is the heart of the conversation. You will read a paragraph outlining some background of the topic. Then, you will go through our questions allowing each participant ~2 minutes to answer a question. Some groups like to choose a specific question to answer and others prefer to leave it open. Discuss it with your group, there is flexibility.

Round 3:

Round 3 gives us a chance to reflect on hat was discussed. Talk about what was most meaningful or valuable for you, what has changed in your thinking, or if there is anything you’d like to do next.

closing

Keep Living Room Conversations going! This is a chance to let us know how your conversation went and add you and your groups voice to the thousands of others connecting across difference. Donations are appreciated and make this work possible.