United We Stand: Trust

Conversation Guide

Interested in using this conversation guide? Click here to tell us about it!
We’re happy to help!

Trust is a critical component of building and maintaining healthy families, communities, institutions and countries. This trust is built over time and can be challenged by people with different views or backgrounds as well as events that call into question the intent of our institutions and media. This conversation is designed to encourage reflection on key disconnects we are currently experiencing in trust and consider what happens when we don’t trust the integrity of our elections, scientists, news, politicians or business leaders. How can we move forward and build trust for a healthier society?

Background Information:

This is the first conversation in the ‘United We Stand’ conversation pathway. We recommend you complete this conversation followed by Healthy Conflict and Unity & Politics.

Let's Get Started!

Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate. 

Introductions:
Why We're Here (~10 min)

Each participant has 1 minute to introduce themselves.

Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.

Conversation Agreements:
How We'll Engage (~5 min)

These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)

  • Be curious and listen to understand.
  • Show respect and suspend judgment. 
  • Note any common ground as well as any differences. 
  • Be authentic and welcome that from others. 
  • Be purposeful and to the point. 
  • Own and guide the conversation. 

Question Rounds:
What We’ll Talk About

Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.

Round 1:
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)

Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:

  • What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are?
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?

Round 2:

Trust (~40 min)

One participant can volunteer to read the paragraph at the top of the web page.


Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..

  • How would you define trust and how do you experience it?
  • Who in your life do you trust and why? What institutions do you trust and why?
  • What have you seen as the benefits or dangers of trusting?
  • Where do you struggle to feel trust? What is the impact of that in your life?
  • Where do you build trust? How do you do that?
  • When you think about relationships of trust, what hopes do you have for your community or your country?

Round 3:
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)

Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:

  • What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
  • What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
  • How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group?
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?

Closing (~5 min)

  • Give us feedback! Find our feedback form here.
  • Donate! Make more of these possible; give here.
  • Join or host more conversations! With a) this group by exchanging your emails; b) others in person and/or by video call online. Get more involved or learn how to host here.

Thank You!