Suggested greeting for Jan 20th Community Conversation
Good afternoon/evening on behalf of the organizers of the Middletown Community Conversation and (HOST ORGANIZATION) we wanted to welcome you all for joining us today.
All across Middletown groups just like this one are coming together to focus on making this a better community for all. And in doing so we hope to allow all of our neighbors to come together and discuss opportunities, identify priorities, and generate new ideas on what’s next for Middletown as we enter this historic new chapter in our nation’s history books.
To help us stimulate discussion we will provide some questions that we will share with you shortly as well as the opportunity to view President Obama’s inaugural address. However, before we do that I would just like to go over some housekeeping and set some ground rules.
(HOUSEKEEPING-note if food is available and that they should help themselves, note if you have name cards, where are the bathrooms???, hopefully you can create an email list-you may note that this is for follow up and will not be shared for any other purposes, add anything else you think might be helpful to ease people into the discussions and make them comfortable)
As for some general guidelines, first we’d like to note that although the focus is on Middletown, we do not want to limit any idea from being shared, so if it includes something that is regional, state-wide or national please feel free to share. We also ask that we focus on solutions and although problems and concerns may come up in our discussions, let’s try to drive this conversation toward our individual and shared community assets and how they
can be deployed to make Middletown a better place.
Additionally, and in keeping the end in mind, we want everyone to know that each conversation will be recorded and the information will be put into one collective document that will help us identify what’s next for this community. And finally, there are additional guidelines specific around sharing during our conversations but we will wait until after we watch the speech….so without further delay…(speech may be started here).
The following guidelines may be shared as you are about to start the conversations….
• Sharing is voluntary.
• We want to create a safe, loving, and respectful atmosphere.
• Sharing is about one's own feelings, experiences and perceptions, etc
• We are not always going to agree, or see everything the same way, and that's okay
• Each person has a right to and responsibility for his or her own feelings, thoughts and beliefs
• It is important to avoid criticism or judgment about another person's sharing and point of view of his/her feelings.
• Avoid debate and argument. It rarely changes anything or anyone, and tends to ultimately inhibit the sharing.
• All ideas are valuable.
• Refrain from singling out any individual as "representing " their group, gender, race, etc.
• It is important to give full attention to who ever is talking.
• Feelings are important
• No cross talking or debate
• No talking to person next to you while someone else is being talking.
• Hopefully, we will leave these meetings with a deeper sense of community and a renewed hope for the future of Middletown
MIDDLETOWN COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS
JANUARY 20, 2009
GUIDELINES FOR SHARING
• SHARING IS VOLUNTARY.
• WE WANT TO CREATE A SAFE, LOVING, AND RESPECTFUL
• SHARING IS ABOUT ONE'S OWN FEELINGS, EXPERIENCES AND
• WE ARE NOT ALWAYS GOING TO AGREE, OR SEE EVERYTHING THE
SAME WAY, AND THAT'S OKAY
• EACH PERSON HAS A RIGHT TO AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS OR
HER OWN FEELINGS, THOUGHTS AND BELIEFS
• IT IS IMPORTANT TO AVOID CRITICISM OR JUDGMENT ABOUT
ANOTHER PERSON'S SHARING AND POINT OF VIEW OF HIS/HER
• AVOID DEBATE AND ARGUMENT. IT RARELY CHANGES ANYTHING
OR ANYONE, AND TENDS TO ULTIMATELY INHIBIT THE SHARING
• ALL IDEAS ARE VALUABLE.
• REFRAIN FROM SINGLING OUT ANY INDIVIDUAL AS "REPRESENTING " HIS OR HER GROUP.
• IT IS IMPORTANT TO GIVE FULL ATTENTION TO WHOEVER IS TALKING.
• FEELINGS ARE IMPORTANT
• NO CROSS TALKING OR DEBATE
• NO TALKING TO PERSON NEXT TO YOU WHILE SOMEONE ELSE IS
TALKING TO THE GROUP.
• HOPEFULLY, WE WILL LEAVE THESE MEETINGS WITH A DEEPER
SENSE OF COMMUNITY AND A RENEWED HOPE FOR THE FUTURE