Let’s Talk America Hosting Manual
Here is a bare bones version of what's in the LTA Hosting Manual...How can I start a Let's Talk America Conversation? Anyone who has the curiosity and courage to find out what other people think about America - especially the current state of our democracy -- can start a LTA conversation. Let's Talk America gives you a way to invite others into a conversation about what our democracy means in our lives. Who do you do it with? Anyone else. You can choose how safe or adventurous you want to be. You can pick a circle of friends, a few neighbors, the person next to you in the grocery line, a church group, a work group or come to any of the open Let's Talk America events listed on this website. You are always welcome! And if you'd like others to join, you can post your event. LTA especially encourages you to invite others who think differently than you do - others that you don't usually get to talk to about the questions that matter to you. How many people come? You can have a Let's Talk America conversation with one other person, with ten ...or, if more, we can help you do that. What do you talk about? The best response to a question isn't an answer, it's a conversation. Try these conversation starters:
- What is is the American dream to you?
- Tell about a time when you felt "This is what democracy looks like!"
- What does "We the People" mean in your life?
- What does freedom mean to you?
- A Host who introduces the simple agreements and process, and keeps time.
- A Set of agreements (you can keep the agreements whether or not you ask your conversation partners to)
- Other people - Friends, neighbors, co-workers, members of community groups, strangers. The idea is that both people who share your views - and people who don't - are part of "we the people."
- A structure -. At minimum, you need:
- A set beginning and ending time.
- A chance - at the start and at the end - for each person in the group to speak in turn. No interruptions. No feedback. Not speaking is okay, too. Pick some object -- a stone, a salt shaker, anything. Tell participants that whoever holds the object has the floor..
- And talk!
- (if your curiosity is piqued) Tell me more about...
- (if your instinct is to counter another's statement) This is what I heard you say... is it what you meant?
- (if you are with someone who begins advocating for a fixed position) What led you to this point of view?
- (if you are with someone who begins campaigning for a candidate) What is most important you in a leader?
- (if you are with someone who always agrees with you) What if the opposite were true?
- Ask, "Who wasn't here? What new points of view would we like to invite to our next Let's Talk America conversation?" Invite a few people not like you. Keep expanding.
- If you invite more than a living-room full, there are suggestions for large scale conversations.
- If you want to host a gathering with some new people, post your time and place so that neighbors can find you.
- Engage in the year-long learning process about what's on the minds of "We The People". Tell us how your conversation went by filling out a simple questionnaire. Look through the feedback from other conversations across the nation and/or find out about gatherings in your neighborhood.
- Get involved as a citizen! Tell us about any actions inspired by your participation in LTA