ConversationCafe Recording and Resources

Last week NCDD held our first virtual Conversation Cafe session, and we were blown away by the turnout – thank you to the 125+ of you who joined us to learn about how to host Cafes online and participated in one on the call!

The level of interest and enthusiasm was overwhelming, and so we wanted to make sure that anyone who is interested in this simple, open-source model for dialogue has the information and resources to do so! The following is a list of links to new and existing materials that everyone is welcome to utilize:

  • NCDD’s current director Courtney Breese, co-founder Sandy Heierbacher, and Conversation Cafe co-founder Susan Partnow, created a bunch of resources for hosting Conversation Cafes online during this pandemic: http://www.conversationcafe.org/for-hosts/resources-cafes-online/. Resources include a guide for hosts, the mini guide for use in the cafe, topics and questions for cafes, and an instructional on using Zoom for Cafes.
  • Beyond Conversation Cafe, NCDD’s Communications Coordinator Keiva Hummel has helped curate resources for responding to this pandemic. They are available (and can be added to!) over in Google Docs.

The recording of the virtual Conversation Cafe session is available at this link. Please note: the recording includes an overview of Conversation Cafe, the set-up for the cafe, and then the Q&A and wrap-up at the end. It does not include the breakout group conversations. Additionally, numerous resources and lots of information was shared in the chat.

NCDD is excited to see all the enthusiasm for what’s possible. We’ll continue to support these efforts as best we can, particularly by continuing to share resources and events. We’ve created a new Events Calendar to start sharing upcoming events, and a simple form for posting your event.

NCDD can also definitely use your help! If you want to help with social media, blog posts (share your stories of Cafes!), helping to create a stronger community of hosts, or something else you’d like to offer, send Courtney an email at courtney@ncdd.org. We will convene a team if there is enough interest to support Conversation Cafes in this unique moment. If you are not in a position to give your time right now, perhaps you might consider making a contribution to help support Conversation Cafe: www.ncdd.org/donate. NCDD is a small nonprofit and we steward Conversation Cafe without any dedicated funding support, so any and all contributions are greatly appreciated.

We are all juggling a lot right now, no doubt, but it is so heartening to see you, connect with you, and talk about what we can do for our communities during these difficult times. NCDD looks forward to continuing to work with you all!

Watch the NCDD Network Call on COVID-19

Last week, NCDD hosted a call for our network to discuss how we are adjusting our plans and work in light of COVID-19. We had 70 people join us for this call, and we touched upon numerous topics! Thank you to everyone who made the time to join us and share your questions, ideas, and resources.

The call was recorded and can be accessed here. The chat, which contains a bunch of helpful links, can be found here. We started a Google doc with helpful resources and tools for navigating conversation and connection during this COVID-19 pandemic – find it here. Feel welcome to add to the doc, any resources/tools you think would be helpful.

What was abundantly clear from the call is there is a great desire to continue these conversations we started. NCDD is working on setting up additional calls for the network, to allow us to dig deeper into some of these topics. We need your feedback – please fill out this brief form to share with us what you would most like to discuss! We will announce a series of calls in the coming days, to allow more opportunities for us to share and work together.

In addition to these calls, we also want to invite you to help others by sharing your knowledge, skills, and talents with the broader community. No doubt there is a hunger for connection right now while we remain physically apart, and the members of this community are well equipped to help those who are new to dialogue and deliberation get started. 

So, what could you do?

  • Submit a post for the NCDD Blog – on anything you are thinking about or working on, really. But posts that help people think about ways they can engage right now will be particularly helpful. 
  • Share your resources – submit them to the NCDD Resource Center, or help gather resources with others. NCDD started a resource for this network here, which you are welcome to add to.
  • Do you have a quick video that could be helpful for faculty teaching about D&D? Share it! NCDD will happily post on our Youtube Channel – just send me a message with the original link (courtney@ncdd.org). 
  • Have students looking for projects? Looking for something to keep you busy right now? NCDD can always use help! We are always looking for help with posting on the NCDD Blog (original content and content shared from the network), creating new resources/updating old resources in the RC, facilitating network calls, and more. If you have an interest in the above or want to explore what’s possible, let me know!
  • Make a donation to NCDD or join/renew your membership. Your support as always goes directly to supporting staff in doing the work we’ve outlined above as well as our regular programming. 

Thank you for your participation and willingness to serve your communities in these challenging times. We will continue to be here for you all as we get through this thing together.

Announcing a Virtual Conversation Cafe about COVID-19

Friends, the desire for connection and thinking together is overwhelming in this time of physical distancing. NCDD, along with our member and dear friend Susan Partnow, have decided to offer another opportunity for our network to come together in dialogue to support us all during this time. Next Wednesday, March 25th from 1:00-3:00 PM Eastern/10:00 AM-Noon Pacific, we will hold a virtual Conversation Cafe – all are welcome! Register here to join us.

This Cafe is intended as an opportunity for us to connect around how we are feeling and what we are thinking at this time, as well as exploring what we do next. We hope this will help build community among us in this difficult time, as well as help generate ideas for what we might do individually and collectively.

It will also be an opportunity for you to experience Conversation Cafe in an online format. This model is an elegantly simple process for bringing people together in small group conversations to share, listen to one another, and deepen their understanding of one another and a topic. It was built for face-to-face conversations, but Susan and I have been experimenting with it online and are finding that it may be a great model to help people connect virtually during a time of distancing physically. We plan to share some materials for moving this to an online format in advance of the call!

If you want to participate, please register today!

Watch the Confab on Hope for Democracy!

We enjoyed hosting the March Confab Call featuring the new book Hope for Democracy! For those who may have missed it, or those who want to refer back, this post has all the important information from the event.

In Hope for Democracy, John Gastil and Katherine R. Knobloch introduce new tools for tamping down hyper-partisanship and placing citizens at the heart of the democratic process. They showcase the Citizens’ Initiative Review, which convenes a demographically-balanced random sample of citizens to study statewide ballot measures. Citizen panelists interrogate advocates, opponents, and experts, then write an analysis that distills their findings for voters. Gastil and Knobloch reveal how this process has helped voters better understand the policy issues placed on their ballots. Placed in the larger context of deliberative democratic reforms, Hope for Democracy shows how citizens and public officials can work together to bring more rationality and empathy into modern politics.

The Confab was a great conversation about the Citizens Initiative Review and how it has improved democratic participation in the places it has been utilized. The recording of this event can be found at this link. Our participants asked a whole lot of great questions and our presenters shared several helpful links – if you are curious to see those, you can check them out here.

Our sincere thanks to John Gastil, Katie Knobloch, as well as Robin Teater and Linn Davis from Healthy Democracy for presenting this session. Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the book! If you choose to purchase through Amazon, don’t forget to go to smile.amazon.com and ask Amazon to donate a portion to NCDD!

Confab bubble imageTo learn more about NCDD’s Confab Calls and hear recordings of others, visit www.ncdd.org/events/confabs. We love holding these events and we want to continue to elevate the work of our field with Confab Calls and Tech Tuesdays. It is through your generous contributions to NCDD that we can keep doing this work! That’s why we want to encourage you to support NCDD by making a donation or becoming an NCDD member today (you can also renew your membership by clicking here). Thank you!

Register for TODAY’S Confab Call on Hope for Democracy

Join us TODAY for our March Confab Call, which will introduce a new book from John Gastil and Katie Knobloch, Hope for Democracy. This free call takes place today, March 10th from 2-3 pm Eastern/11 am-12 pm Pacific. Register today to secure your spot.

Concerned citizens across the globe fear that democratic institutions are failing them. Citizens feel shut out of politics and worry that politicians are no longer responsive to their interests. In Hope for Democracy, John Gastil and Katherine R. Knobloch introduce new tools for tamping down hyper-partisanship and placing citizens at the heart of the democratic process. They showcase the Citizens’ Initiative Review, which convenes a demographically-balanced random sample of citizens to study statewide ballot measures. Citizen panelists interrogate advocates, opponents, and experts, then write an analysis that distills their findings for voters. Gastil and Knobloch reveal how this process has helped voters better understand the policy issues placed on their ballots. Placed in the larger context of deliberative democratic reforms, Hope for Democracy shows how citizens and public officials can work together to bring more rationality and empathy into modern politics.

The Confab will give folks a chance to ask questions of Katie and John, and Robin Teater from Healthy Democracy, which convenes the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review. Subjects will include the Review itself, American politics and deliberative democracy, research partnerships with nonprofits, and anything else that seems even slightly relevant.

This free call will take place in just a couple hours today, March 10th from 2-3 pm Eastern, 11 am-12 pm Pacific. Register today so you don’t miss out on this event!

About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

Announcing the March NCDD Confab: Hope for Democracy!

NCDD is thrilled to announce our March Confab Call, which will introduce a new book from John Gastil and Katie Knobloch, Hope for Democracy. This free call takes place Tuesday, March 10th from 2-3 pm Eastern/11 am-12 pm Pacific. Register today to secure your spot.

Concerned citizens across the globe fear that democratic institutions are failing them. Citizens feel shut out of politics and worry that politicians are no longer responsive to their interests. In Hope for Democracy, John Gastil and Katherine R. Knobloch introduce new tools for tamping down hyper-partisanship and placing citizens at the heart of the democratic process. They showcase the Citizens’ Initiative Review, which convenes a demographically-balanced random sample of citizens to study statewide ballot measures. Citizen panelists interrogate advocates, opponents, and experts, then write an analysis that distills their findings for voters. Gastil and Knobloch reveal how this process has helped voters better understand the policy issues placed on their ballots. Placed in the larger context of deliberative democratic reforms, Hope for Democracy shows how citizens and public officials can work together to bring more rationality and empathy into modern politics.

The Confab will give folks a chance to ask questions of Katie and John, and Robin Teater from Healthy Democracy, which convenes the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review. Subjects will include the Review itself, American politics and deliberative democracy, research partnerships with nonprofits, and anything else that seems even slightly relevant.

This free call will take place on Tuesday, March 10th from 2-3 pm Eastern, 11 am-12 pm PacificRegister today so you don’t miss out on this event!

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About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

Check out the February NCDD Confab on Hidden Common Ground!

It was our pleasure to host our February Confab Call featuring the Hidden Common Ground Initiative! For those who may have missed it, or those who want to refer back, this post has all the important information from the event.

Hidden Common Ground is a joint project of USA TODAY, Public Agenda, the Kettering Foundation, and National Issues Forums. At the heart of the initiative are National Issues Forums in communities and online across the country about compelling public issues: health care, immigration, the economy, and divisiveness.  USA TODAY will provide press coverage and commentary, Public Agenda will publish issue-based research, and Kettering Foundation will develop nonpartisan discussion guides.  Since there are too few opportunities for Americans to discover their “hidden common ground,” participating in the year-long initiative is vitally important.

The Confab was a wonderful overview of the initiative and opportunities to participate, and it can be found at this link. Our participants asked a whole lot of great questions – if you are curious to see those, you can check them out here. Additionally, the presentation materials can be accessed at this link.

Our sincere thanks to Betty Knighton, Darla Minnich, and Kara Dillard for presenting this session. NCDD hopes we’ll hear about our members participation in this initiative soon!

Confab bubble imageTo learn more about NCDD’s Confab Calls and hear recordings of others, visit www.ncdd.org/events/confabs. We love holding these events and we want to continue to elevate the work of our field with Confab Calls and Tech Tuesdays. It is through your generous contributions to NCDD that we can keep doing this work! That’s why we want to encourage you to support NCDD by making a donation or becoming an NCDD member today (you can also renew your membership by clicking here). Thank you!

This Thursday: NCDD Confab on Hidden Common Ground!

Don’t miss this Thursday’s NCDD Confab Call, which features the Hidden Common Ground initiative. This free call takes place Thursday, February 20th from 2-3 pm Eastern/11 am-12 pm Pacific. Register today to secure your spot.

Hidden Common Ground is a joint project of USA TODAY, Public Agenda, the Kettering Foundation, and National Issues Forums. At the heart of the initiative are National Issues Forums in communities and online across the country about compelling public issues: health care, immigration, the economy, and divisiveness.  USA TODAY will provide press coverage and commentary, Public Agenda will publish issue-based research, and Kettering Foundation will develop nonpartisan discussion guides.  Since there are too few opportunities for Americans to discover their “hidden common ground,” participating in the year-long initiative is vitally important.

Please join us to learn more, to explore local partnerships and media connections, and to access free materials to use in your communities.

This free call will take place on Thursday, February 20th from 2-3 pm Eastern, 11 am-12 pm PacificRegister today so you don’t miss out on this event!

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About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

Announcing February Confab feat. Hidden Common Ground

We are excited to announce the February Confab Call, which features the Hidden Common Ground initiative. This free call takes place Thursday, February 20th from 2-3 pm Eastern/11 am-12 pm Pacific. Register today to secure your spot.

Hidden Common Ground is a joint project of USA TODAY, Public Agenda, the Kettering Foundation, and National Issues Forums.

Are there aspects of public issues where Americans can agree and work together to solve problems? Let’s tackle this question in Hidden Common Ground, the national election year public deliberation initiative.  At the heart of the initiative are National Issues Forums in communities and online across the country about compelling public issues: health care, immigration, the economy, and divisiveness.  USA TODAY will provide press coverage and commentary, Public Agenda will publish issue-based research, and Kettering Foundation will develop nonpartisan discussion guides.  Since there are too few opportunities for Americans to discover their “hidden common ground,” participating in the year-long initiative is vitally important.

Please join us to learn more, to explore local partnerships and media connections, and to access free materials to use in your communities.

Presenters for this Confab Call include:

Betty Knighton, President, National Issues Forums Institute; Senior Associate, Kettering Foundation

Kara Dillard, CGA Operations, National Issues Forums Institute; Assistant Professor, James Madison University School of Communication Studies

Darla Minnich, CAO, National Issues Forums Institute

This free call will take place on Thursday, February 20th from 2-3 pm Eastern, 11 am-12 pm PacificRegister today so you don’t miss out on this event!

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About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

Join us! Giving Tuesday Donations Matched Today and December Confab This Thursday

Friendly reminder about our December Confab Call this coming Thursday, December 5th from noon-1:30 pm Eastern/9 am-10:30 am Pacific. The call will be an opportunity for participants to learn about several resources for talking about guns and violence. We encourage you to join this free call and register today to secure your spot.

Before we go further and in case you missed our post yesterday, today is Giving Tuesday! If you appreciate our Confabs and Tech Tuesdays, conferences and the work we do to build up this vibrant network and the field of dialogue and deliberation – then we would love your support. Today there is a special offer, for folks who donate via our Facebook page, your donations will be matched! If you would prefer to not use social media, you are welcome to donate directly to NCDD right here. We know there are a lot of incredible organizations out there to support today and whether it is $5 or $50; we appreciate any contributions you can provide! Finally, on this note, we encourage folks who are not already NCDD members to check out the member benefits and join the Coalition!

So back to this Confab coming up… it has become an increasing norm in our society to experience mass shootings and this last summer our communities and nations grappled with another wave of violence. As often happens in these moments, people want a space to process what’s happened, and/or talk about what to do to prevent future tragedy. On Thursday, we’ll be featuring three organizations in the NCDD network and the resources they have developed for talking about this topic, learn more below.

National Issues Forums has developed materials several times on the topic. The most recent is their Issue Advisory, How Should We Prevent Mass Shootings in Our Communities?  From the advisory: “Overall, the United States has become safer in recent years. Yet mass shooters target innocent people indiscriminately, often in places where people should feel safe—movie theaters, shopping centers, schools. Many believe these attacks are nothing short of terrorism. How can we stop mass shootings and ensure that people feel safe in their homes and communities?” The issue advisory outlines three potential options for addressing this issue and encourages the public to deliberate on these and potentially other options.

Living Room Conversations‘ Conversation Guide on Guns and Responsibility seeks to help people come together across political or ideological differences to discuss this challenging topic. From the guide: “This conversation focuses on our own personal experience with guns and how these experiences have shaped our opinions. This conversation seeks to help us develop a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges surrounding gun ownership.” The guide offers a format for talking about guns in a way that helps community members hear one another’s experiences and how those impact their views about guns.

Essential Partners, the global leader in building trust and understanding across divisive differences, has led both regional and national projects around the role of guns in American life​ for over five years​. In 2018, EP convened participants from across the United States for a two-day training in dialogue design and community building, followed by an experiment in digital peer dialogue facilitation. A partnership with TIME Magazine, Spaceship Media, and Advance Local, the in-person event took place in Washington, DC, during the March for Our Lives. Watch the TIME Magazine video, read the media coverage, ​view resources, ​and find out more about Essential Partners’ approach to this issue on their website.

On this call, we’ll be joined by presenters from each of these three organizations, who will share with us the resources and how they can be used to discuss the challenging topic of guns. Join us to hear more and have your questions answered about how to convene a conversation in your community.

This free call will take place on Thursday, December 5th from noon-1:30 pm Eastern, 9 am-10:30 am PacificRegister today so you don’t miss out on this event!

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About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!