Recap of our NCDD Confab Featuring Undivided Nation

We had great Confab call last week featuring NCDD members David and Erin Leaverton of Undivided Nation – and you missed an excellent call if weren’t able to join! The Leavertons shared with the 40 participants on the call, about their experience traveling to every state in the US to listen to folks throughout the country and find ways where people can be united. We strongly encourage you to check out the recording to hear about their transformative adventure and learn of the powerful takeaways.

With the beautiful Lake Champlain in the background, David and Erin joined us via video call during their stop in Vermont, to share about their journey so far and some of the humbling learning opportunities they ‘ve experienced. Just before the beginning of the year, the Leavertons sold their house, bought an RV, and have been traveling state-to-state with their three children. Spurred by the fierce partisanship David experienced while working in politics, they sought to talk with folks from all parts of the US and better understand the roots of this country, in order to hopefully find ways to unify the deep divisions. Initially, they began their journey thinking people would be focused on the political divisions in this country, and yet they found that most have shared about the deep racial and socio-economic divisions they experience.

Halfway through their trip, the Leavertons have already had profound learning and said that every person they’ve connected with has impacted them. With humility, they shared how their understanding of the racial realities in this country has shifted and recognized how much more complex the issues in the US are than they previously believed. As their understanding has grown of the deep inequities some folks in this country experience, they noted the need to genuinely address these inequalities in order to work toward a country that is just and provides the constitutional ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – to all people.

We were live tweeting during the call and here are some of our favorites from the Confab:

  • “We wanted to help bring unity…My heart was breaking about what was going on in the country and I had a desire to be part of the change I wanted to see, that’s what set off this journey.”
  • “We asked ourselves – how can you begin to bring unity to people you’ve never met before? So we sold our house, got an RV to travel to every state and talk to people.”
  • “We invite people to come along with us and share what we’re learning, it’s too good not to share. It’s radically changed our understanding of our county and it was important for us to do it this way.”
  • “We’re traveling to a new state every Mon, we started the journey thinking ppl would focus on political divisions, but people have been more focused on racial and social-economic divisions.”
  • “Many people have a fear of other people… on some level… and have to get past this fear of people to be able to listen. You don’t have to sacrifice your truth to understand another.”
  • “To tell people who have experienced violence to forgive or be civil, it’s not just civility and while forgiveness is a part of it, we need to understand the reality before we preach forgiveness.”
  • “We need a candid conversation about the history of this country and when we come to terms with our true story, there’ll be a day of mourning – we need to come clean and acknowledge, before we, as a country, can move forward.”
  • “You can’t force people to interact… but you can invite people. Curiosity is the key ingredient, and it will help get you through the face of fear”

We recorded the whole presentation in case you weren’t able to join us, which you can access on the archives page by clicking here. We had several insightful contributions to the chat, which you can find the transcript of here. Access to the archives is a benefit of being an NCDD member, so make sure your membership is up-to-date (or click here to join).

Confab bubble image

We want to thank David, Erin, and all the Confab participants for contributing to this informative conversation! To learn more about NCDD’s Confab Calls and hear recordings of others, visit www.ncdd.org/events/confabs.

Finally, 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!

Exploring Civility in America through Ben Franklin’s Wisdom

As part of our partnership with NCDD member org, Ben Franklin Circles (BFC), we have been sharing stories from BFC. Because of the vitriol of the US political climate these last few years, there has been an increased call for civility. The article offers the views of Ben Franklin and Dale Carnegie as thought fodder for bringing more civility to America. You can read the post below and find the original post on BFC’s site here.


Ben Franklin & Civility

“The only way to win an argument is to avoid it.”

Dale Carnegie’s famous remark was preceded by Benjamin Franklin’s own formulation of this axiom, which he describes in his Autobiography as the “habit of modest diffidence.” Franklin explains that this practice banishes the categorical from his vocabulary, ascribing to this habit much of his success “when [he] had occasion to inculcate [his] opinion and persuade men into measures.”

Gone were words such as “Certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give air to the positives to an opinion,” and welcomed were such phrases as “I conceived,” “I apprehend,” and “I imagine it to be so.”

At bottom, Carnegie and Franklin offer the same bit of advice: to persuade people to your point of view, you must appear to not disagree with them at all.

If you are now thinking, “How are you supposed to have a conversation without appearing to say anything different from one’s interlocutor?” I know what you mean. It is also fair to ask whether it is patronizing—or even dishonest—to smile and nod at your conversation partner for the sake of personal gain or social ease.

Indeed, Carnegie and Franklin may well be accused by one Tom Scocca of being purveyors of “smarm,” a disposition he scathingly condemned in a 4,000 word treatise.

“Smarm,” says Scocca, “is a kind of performance — an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance.” Smarm, he says, is the tool of self-aggrandizers and the death of public discourse and intellectual honesty. It was when BuzzFeed assumed Thumper’s motto, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”—which sounds vaguely reminiscent of Carnegie’s and Franklin’s advice—that Scocca could no longer stay silent. “The evasion of disputes is a defining tactic of smarm. Smarm, whether political or literary, insists that the audience accept the priors it has been given. Debate begins where the important parts of the debate have ended.” Smarm refuses to engage with ideas by instead “smoothing over” disagreement for the sake of social comfort or personal gain. This, for Scocca, is what makes smarm dishonest and worthy of contempt.

Writer Leon Wieseltier concurs: “In intellectual and literary life, where the stakes may be quite high, manners must never be the primary consideration. People who advance controversial notions should be prepared for controversy. Questions of truth, meaning, goodness, justice and beauty are bigger than Bambi.”

I quite agree.

But that does not mean we should wholly discard Carnegie’s and Franklin’s admonitions. It is possible to disagree with someone without permanently rupturing the relationship, and they point us how to do that.

By encouraging us to be sensitive to how our interlocutor will hear our words, Carnegie and Franklin direct us toward true civility, a mode that respects the inherent dignity of each person with whom one interacts

By placing people at the center, true civility provides a framework for understanding not just when to criticize and when to focus on social ease but, perhaps more importantly, how.

True civility is more than “niceness” because it respects people enough to take them and their ideas seriously. The truly civil person is one who is teachable, who is willing to be wrong, and willing to place a relationship before being right.

Oscar Wilde wrote, “A gentleman is one who never gives offense… unintentionally.” There is, contrary to Carnegie and Franklin’s position, a time to take a strong stance that perhaps even gives offense. We also are not always in control of when others are offended by us. But by plumbing with reinvigorated rigor the foundation to our souls, examining if our values and priorities are reflected in our words and deeds, and be part of re claiming a more authentic, and truly civil, America.

You can find the original version of this post on Ben Franklin Circles’ site at www.benfranklincircles.org/virtues/ben-franklin-civility.

Don’t Miss Out on Undivided Nation Confab Call Thurs 6/28

Remember to register for our upcoming June Confab Call featuring Undivided Nation happening this Thursday, June 28th! This free call will be from 2-3pm Eastern/11am-Noon Pacific. Make sure you register today to secure your spot for this exciting call!

David and Erin Leaverton are the founders of Undivided Nation, which aims to serve as a catalyst for reconciliation and unity in America. David, following a career in partisan politics, felt a calling to work to repair the divides in our nation, and to connect with people who he has seen as an opponent, or as a stereotype. David and Erin decided to sell their house, quit their jobs, and spend 2018 traveling the country with their three children, spending a week in each state and learning more about those they once recognized as “other,” as well as exploring what divides us, and what can bring us together.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out their road trip blog and their Facebook page for updates on their journey and reflections on the experience and the people they’ve met so far. David also wrote a piece for NCDD’s blog, which we highly recommend. You can also check out the video of their story below!

David and Erin will join us to discuss their journey, and what they have been learning along the way. They are two wonderful people and they have some powerful stories to tell, so this is sure to be a great call to learn more about their journey and connect with them! You may even have some ideas for them about folks to connect with when they come to your state!

Don’t miss out – register for our call today!

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 NCDD June Confab Call with Undivided Nation!

NCDD is excited to announce our June Confab Call featuring Undivided Nation! This FREE call will take place Thursday, June 28th from 2-3pm Eastern/11am-Noon Pacific. Make sure you register today to secure your spot!

David and Erin Leaverton are the founders of Undivided Nation, which aims to serve as a catalyst for reconciliation and unity in America. David, following a career in partisan politics, felt a calling to work to repair the divides in our nation, and to connect with people who he has seen as an opponent, or as a stereotype. David and Erin decided to sell their house, quit their jobs, and spend 2018 traveling the country with their three children, spending a week in each state and learning more about those they once recognized as “other,” as well as exploring what divides us, and what can bring us together.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out their road trip blog and their Facebook page for updates on their journey and reflections on the experience and the people they’ve met so far. David also wrote a piece for NCDD’s blog, which we highly recommend. You can also check out the video of their story below!

David and Erin will join us to discuss their journey, and what they have been learning along the way. They are two wonderful people and they have some powerful stories to tell, so this is sure to be a great call to learn more about their journey and connect with them! You may even have some ideas for them about folks to connect with when they come to your state!

Don’t miss out – register for our call today!

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!

Calling All D&D Showcase Presenters for NCDD2018

NCDD is excited to announce that we’ll once again be holding our popular “D&D Showcase” during the 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, and we are looking for presenters!

The D&D Showcase is a lively cocktail networking event that provides an opportunity for select individuals and organizations in our field to share some of the leading ideas, tools, projects, and initiatives in dialogue & deliberation with conference participants all in one space. It’s a fun way for conference-goers to meet some of the movers-and-shakers in D&D and hear about the projects, programs, and tools that are making waves in our work.

How the Showcase will work

Showcase presenters display simple “posters” about their work, tools, or projects and bring handouts and business cards to share with participants who are interested in learning more or following up. Showcase presenters will be ready to succinctly express what’s important for conference participants to know about their resource, method, research, program, etc. and to elaborate and answer any questions people may have.

During the 90-minute Showcase event, conference participants will stroll around the ballroom, chatting with presenters, and checking out their displays and picking up handouts. We’ll also have finger foods and beverages available as well as a cash bar, adding to the social atmosphere of the session.

The Showcase is a great chance to strike up conversations with leaders in the field and other conference participants who are strolling around the room, perusing the “wares.”

You can get a good sense of what the Showcase is like by watching this slideshow from our 2012 conference in Seattle.

You can also see Janette Hartz-Karp and Brian Sullivan presenting at the 2008 Showcase event here (back when we called it the “D&D Marketplace”), and check out the video of Noam Shore, Lucas Cioffi, and Wayne Burke presenting their online tools here.

Becoming a Showcase Presenter

The conference planning team is hard at work planning NCDD 2018, and one of our upcoming steps includes selecting people and organizations who are passionate about sharing tools and programs we know will interest our attendees as presenters during the Showcase. If you are interested in having your tool, project, idea, or work being featured in the Showcase, please email our conference manager Keiva Hummel at keiva@ncdd.org and include: what it is you would like to showcase, a brief description of it, any links to where more information can be found, and any questions you have.

Please note that these slots are very competitive, and we will be favoring Showcase presentations that relate to the conference theme, Connecting and Strengthening Civic InnovatorsSo if your work, project, or tool focuses on helping to better bring the work of the dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement into greater visibility and widespread practice – we definitely want to hear from you!

If you are selected as a D&D Showcase presenter, you’ll be expected to:

  • Register for NCDD 2018 and attend the conference.
  • Prepare a quick spiel or “elevator speech” about your Showcase topic that will get people interested in learning more. Practice it until it comes out naturally. We suggest you prepare several introductions of different lengths (30 seconds, 1 minute, etc.) so you can adjust quickly to different circumstances during the Showcase.
  • Prepare a simple, visually interesting poster and bring it with you to the conference.
  • Bring handouts about your program, method, online tool, publication, etc. that include further details.
  • Have any laptop-dependent pieces of your Showcase presentation finished, functional, and ready to share (you’ll need to bring your own computer).
  • Show up for the Showcase session about 20 minutes early so we have time to make sure everyone is set up and has everything they need.

You can find more information and advice for Showcase presenters on our Conference FAQ page here.

We are looking forward to having another informative and inspirational D&D Showcase this year, so we hope you’ll consider applying to be a presenter or urging your colleagues who are doing ground-breaking and critical work in the field to do so. We can’t wait to see all of the cutting-edge projects showcased in November!

Get NCDD2018 Tickets at “Super Early Bird” rate by Thurs!

WOW! It’s the five-month mark until the 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation happening November 2-4 in Downtown Denver and we are getting so excited!! Last week we had over 100 proposals come in for workshop sessions at NCDD2018 and our conference team is now working through them. There are so many fantastic ideas that came in, we can’t wait to share with you what the line up will be! If you are interested in learning more about what NCDD conference have been like and what kind of workshops our innovative network has brought to the table in the past – make sure you check out our past conferences (and guidebooks!).

In addition to sharing our excitement about the upcoming conference, we wanted to give a friendly reminder that the “Super Early Bird” rate for tickets is available until tomorrow Thursday, May 31st! This is the only time that tickets for the conference will be available at this low rate, so make sure you secure yours before they go up on Friday. Whether you are have been working in dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement for many years or you are a newbie in the field – our conferences have something for everyone! Register for the conference by clicking here.

Our theme for this conference is, Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators, and it is our hope that we can come together to work on how to further amplify dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement work. There are so many valuable processes and resources that our extended community of practice offers, and we’d like to explore ways to make this work spread. Check out our ideas on the NCDD2018 page here for how we want to further build D&D power and deepen the impact of engagement work.

NCDD conferences are known for being energetic and transformational experiences where this incredible talking tribe can come and work together. They are opportunities which only come around every other year, so we hope you will join us in Denver this November!

Listen to the Tech Tuesday Recording Featuring Mismatch

In case you missed it, we had another excellent Tech Tuesday last week featuring Mismatch, a creation of Allsides! Over 50 participants joined the call to learn more about this engaging platform that seeks to match people of diverse perspectives through video conferencing. This was a great opportunity to learn how this platform has been utilized in schools and the ways in which it has already transformed peoples’ lives. We strongly encourage you to check out the recording of the call to learn more about it!

On the call, John Gable and Jaymee Copenhaver of Allsides started off the conversation by sharing how polarization has shifted here in the US and that our country has never been as polarized as it is now. They pointed out the dangerous combination of the 24 hr news cycle, massive polarization, and increasing tendency for people to live in bubbles has people more extreme in their beliefs and significantly less tolerant.

Mismatch helps to address this because it connects classrooms across the country via video conferencing and allows students to hear from someone different from themselves. And they had some phenomenal results! Many of the students who participated found their nervousness was dramatically reduced afterward and 92% said they better understood the other person better. John and Jaymee shared the future goals for the platform; while it is currently being utilized in schools, they hope to expand its reach to libraries, orgs in the D&D field, and ultimately the broader world.

Some of our favorite quotes during the Tech Tuesday:

  • “We generally only see one POV, at Allsides they seek to empower the reader and show different points of view, so people can make their own decisions.”
  • “After talking with their match, students asked if they had been matched with someone “different” (Yes, they had) and found that they had more in common than they previously thought they would.”
  • “If we can have people meet each other, coming from diverse perspectives, and actually talk with each other – this is when we can change the course of history.”
  • “When you look at the tipping point, you really need about 5% to participate, have these transformative experiences, to really change things.”

We recorded the whole presentation if you were unable to join us, which you can access on the archives page here. We had several insightful contributions to the chat, which you can find the transcript of here. Access to the archives is a benefit of being an NCDD member, so make sure your membership is up-to-date (or click here to join).

Tech_Tuesday_Badge

Big thank you to John, Jaymee, and everyone who joined us on this informative call! We encourage you to check out the TechTues recording and learn more about Mismatch at www.mismatch.org/. To learn more about NCDD’s Tech Tuesday series and hear recordings of past calls, please visit www.ncdd.org/tech-tuesdays.

Finally, 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!

Reminder to Join Tomorrow’s Tech Tues Feat Mismatch

In case you missed our announcement last week, the next NCDD Tech Tues is tomorrow Tuesday, May 22nd, featuring Mismatch! This FREE call will be from 3 – 4pm Eastern/Noon-1pm Pacific. Don’t miss out – register today to secure your spot!

Mismatch.org connects classrooms across the country via video conferencing and allows students to hear from someone different from themselves. It works like a dating service: teachers fill out some information about their school and area, and they are sent their perfect Mismatch. Students then use a conversation guide to talk one-on-one with students in another classroom. Through these conversations, students learn about how to talk civilly with someone who is different than them as well as important digital literacy skills. Recently, Mismatch was opened up to anyone who wanted to participate during the National Week of Conversation and offered conversations on a variety of different topics.

On this webinar, we will be joined by John Gable and Jaymee Copenhaver from Allsides, who have developed the Mismatch platform. They will introduce us to Mismatch and walk us through how it works, and how it has been used in schools and beyond.

About our presenters:
John Gable is CEO and co-founder of AllSides.com and AllSidesForSchools.org. John has 25 years of technology experience where he was the product manager, team or division lead for a number of iconic products including Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Office, and Checkpoint ZoneAlarm. He co-founded Kavi Corp (web-based collaboration, later sold to High Logic) and previously was a professional political campaigner and executive director in the 1980s working for Bush ’41, Mitch McConnell and the Republican National Committee.

Jaymee Copenhaver is the Partner Director and a writer for AllSides.com. She recently completed a year-long Media and Journalism fellowship with the Charles Koch Institute in Arlington, VA and is a December 2016 graduate of the University of Virginia where she studied Government and American Politics.

This will be a great chance to learn more about this engaging platform. Don’t miss out – register today!

Tech Tuesdays are a series of learning events from NCDD focused on technology for engagement. These 1-hour events are designed to help dialogue and deliberation practitioners get a better sense of the online engagement landscape and how they can take advantage of the myriad opportunities available to them. You do not have to be a member of NCDD to participate in our Tech Tuesday learning events.

Announcing NCDD’s May Tech Tuesday featuring Mismatch!

NCDD is happy to announce our May Tech Tuesday featuring Mismatch. This FREE event will take place Tuesday, May 22nd from 3:00-4:00pm Eastern/Noon-1:00pm Pacific. Don’t miss out – register today to secure your spot!

Mismatch.org connects classrooms across the country via video conferencing and allows students to hear from someone different from themselves. It works like a dating service: teachers fill out some information about their school and area, and they are sent their perfect Mismatch. Students then use a conversation guide to talk one-on-one with students in another classroom. Through these conversations, students learn about how to talk civilly with someone who is different than them as well as important digital literacy skills. Recently, Mismatch was opened up to anyone who wanted to participate during the National Week of Conversation and offered conversations on a variety of different topics.

On this webinar, we will be joined by John Gable and Jaymee Copenhaver from Allsides, who have developed the Mismatch platform. They will introduce us to Mismatch and walk us through how it works, and how it has been used in schools and beyond.

About our presenters:

John Gable is CEO and co-founder of AllSides.com and AllSidesForSchools.org. John has 25 years of technology experience where he was the product manager, team or division lead for a number of iconic products including Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Office, and Checkpoint ZoneAlarm. He co-founded Kavi Corp (web-based collaboration, later sold to High Logic) and previously was a professional political campaigner and executive director in the 1980s working for Bush ’41, Mitch McConnell and the Republican National Committee.

Jaymee Copenhaver is the Partner Director and a writer for AllSides.com. She recently completed a year-long Media and Journalism fellowship with the Charles Koch Institute in Arlington, VA and is a December 2016 graduate of the University of Virginia where she studied Government and American Politics.

This will be a great chance to learn more about this . Don’t miss out – register today!

Tech Tuesdays are a series of learning events from NCDD focused on technology for engagement. These 1-hour events are designed to help dialogue and deliberation practitioners get a better sense of the online engagement landscape and how they can take advantage of the myriad opportunities available to them. You do not have to be a member of NCDD to participate in our Tech Tuesday learning events.

Become a Sponsor of NCDD 2018 Today!

NCDD is working hard on putting together our 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation this November 2-4 in Denver. It’s shaping up to be a phenomenal conference, and like all of our events, NCDD 2018 will be a great opportunity to gain recognition while supporting the field by becoming a conference sponsor!

Looking to heighten the profile of your organization and work in the field? Being a sponsor is a great way to do it! NCDD conferences regularly bring together over 400 of the most active, thoughtful, and influential people in public engagement and group process work across the U.S. and Canada (plus practitioners from around the world), and being a sponsor can help your organization can reach them all.

Being an All-Star Sponsor ($10,000+), Collaborator ($5,000+), Co-Sponsor ($3,000), Partner ($2,000), or Supporter ($1,000) will earn you name recognition with potential clients, provide months of PR, and build respect and good will for your organization every time we proudly acknowledge your support as we promote the conference. Plus you’ll be providing the crucial support that NCDD relies on to make our national conferences so spectacular, including making it possible for us to offer more scholarships to the amazing young people and other deserving folks in our field. You can learn more about the details in our sponsorship document.

The earlier you commit to being an NCDD 2018 sponsor, the more exposure you earn as we begin to roll out our sponsor logos on our website. But the benefits go way beyond that – just look at all the perks you get for being a sponsor!

This year, we are also offering some additional opportunities to sponsor, including sponsoring our Friday Showcase Reception, and purchasing ads in our conference guidebook. All of these options are outlined in our sponsorship doc, and if you have other ideas, we’re happy to discuss them!

By supporting an NCDD conference, our sponsors are demonstrating leadership in D&D, showing commitment to public engagement and innovative community problem solving, and making a name for themselves among the established leaders and emerging leaders in our rapidly growing field. We expect to have between 400 and 450 attendees at NCDD 2018, and all of them will hear about our sponsors’ work!

When you sign on as a sponsor or partner of NCDD 2018, you’ll be joining an amazing group of peers you can be proud to associate with. To give you an idea, check out the list of 2016 sponsors or the spread of our sponsors and partners for our 2014 national conference:

SponsorLogosAsOf9-7-14

Interested in joining their ranks and sponsoring the 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation? We encourage you to consider investing in yourself, in NCDD, and in the field by becoming a sponsor today! We would deeply appreciate your support – plus you get so many benefits.

Learn more about sponsor benefits and requirements here, or send an email to sandy@ncdd.org to let us know you are interested in supporting this important convening through sponsorship. And thank you for considering supporting the conference in this critical way!