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Pages tagged "Conversation"


Lessons from conversation

On the first Thursday of December, I flocked to the Starbucks in City Center on 6th Street in the attempt to try to get some work done while fire alarm testing was conducted in my apartment building. As 9:30 in the morning came, the flurries fell as the line of drinks – caramel macchiato, chai tea latte, hot mocha – and their recipients, are recited in a somewhat poetic fashion.

It is an unusual sight for a Thursday morning – a packed Starbucks where the people are not worried about deadlines, or the fact that it’s the beginning of the workday. Whether it’s the two women sitting in front of me having a chat as I type on my iPad or two people at a window-side table discussing prospects, the coffee shop has been equated with the ability to nurture curiosity and enrich the spirit.

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Can talking work?

Author’s Note: I want to be clear that nothing in this blog is meant to imply that anyone (liberal or conservative) should feel forced to participate in the conversations that I propose here. It is up to each person and organization to decide if these types of conversations are appropriate for their cause, and they should consider what they will do to create an expectation of respect for and from all participants. This decision should be made only after organizations have conversations with their members and/or those in the communities they serve.

I recently watched President Barack Obama's panel with young leaders in Chicago. It was a 90-minute discussion with a tone of hope that has been missing from the news lately (if you haven't, watch it now).

When I said in 2004 that there were no red states or blue states, they're the United States of America, that was an aspirational comment. But I think it's ― and it's one thing... that I still believe [you see] when you talk to individuals one-on-one — there's a lot more that people have in common than divides them.

I, feeling inspired, volunteered to write my first YNPN-TC blog on an issue I've been thinking about a lot since the election: the need for people of different political ideologies to talk with each other and the role that nonprofits can play in purposely making spaces for these conversations. I was pretty nervous to write it given today’s heated political climate, but I strongly feel we must find ways to get out of "own little bubbles" and create meaningful dialogues through which we can recognize that the "other side" is human and not, just, a faceless enemy.

Then Heineken released its "Worlds Apart" ad (and its related "Open Your World" campaign). 

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A beginner's guide to fostering meaningful conversations

main.jpgOrganizations and teams that are able to foster meaningful conversations are ahead of the game. Meaningful and honest conversations help minimize communication problems, and increase productivity, by coming together around shared goals. Unfortunately, this is not often the case. Body language, subtext, and culture heavily influence the conversations we have. Additionally, organizational politics, mistrust or fear of vulnerability can hold back honest communication all together.

So how do you as an individual, regardless of position, begin to create the space for meaningful conversations? It takes patience, persistence, confidence and a checklist. This checklist is by no means an exhaustive summary on how to create meaningful conversations, it is a starter kit you can use to begin the process.

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Saturday morning connection: Scattershot Cafe recap

main.jpgHow many networking events do you attend where you bring your kids? How often do you get together with other young professionals in a playroom with boisterous toddlers climbing on plastic slides? My professional and personal worlds collided in this environment – a discussion about parenting as a nonprofit professional, part of YNPN’s Scattershot Café event. In the nine months since I’ve been a parent, happy hour has been more of a challenge, but this Saturday morning get-together was just my speed. 

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The World Cafe Model | A forum for gathering collective knowledge

main.jpgMy name is Catherine, and I'm an eventoholic. I LOVE events! Mention the possibility of attending an event, planning an event, or hosting an event, and I’m all over it. But this post isn't about me (or the potential events anonymous group I probably need to attend). This is about an exciting event trend I was first introduced to at a Torch event, and have continued to see at subsequent events: The World Café model.

What is it exactly? The World Café website explains this model as “an innovative yet simple methodology for hosting conversations about questions that matter. These conversations link and build on each other as people move between groups, cross-pollinate ideas, and discover new insights into the questions or issues that are most important in their life, work, or community.” So in other words, peer advice on anabolic steroids.

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