Pocket Guide to Hosting Zine

Story Artist Mary Alice Arthur and graphic facilitator Viola Clark collaborated in 2016 to create the first in their Zine series – a POCKET GUIDE TO HOSTING. One side features the Art of Hosting practices, the other side features the AoH methods.  Here is a little snapshot of a couple of pages of the zine. (A zine is a self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier.)

Art of Hosting will be using the Zine in the upcoming trainings in Innsbruck, Austria and Denmark.

Next in the series will be Harvesting.

Mary Alice advises: “It is set up as an A4 (if you are not on the A4 system, shrink to fit the space) — follow the instructions for folding (and unleash your inner creative geek!).”

Resource Link: http://ncdd.org/rc/wp-content/uploads/AoHHostingZine.pdf

Civil Conversations Project

The Civil Conversations Project seeks to renew common life in a fractured and tender world. We are a conversation-based, virtues-based resource towards hospitable, trustworthy relationship with and across difference. We honor the power of asking better questions, model reframed approaches to entrenched debates, and insist that the ruptures above the radar do not tell the whole story of our time. We aspire to amplify and cross-pollinate the generative new realities that are also being woven, one word and one life at a time.

Better Conversations: a starter guide
It seems we are more divided than ever before — unable to speak across the differences we must engage to create the world we want for ourselves and others. We offer this guide as a resource for creating new spaces for listening, conversation, and engagement. We’ve created it as producers, but more as citizens, out of what we’ve learned in over a decade of conversation on On Being.

The seven-page pdf opens with an invitational letter from Krista Tippett, and provides a flexible roadmap for speaking together differently in a way that allows us to live together differently.

This guide is intended to help ground and animate a gathering of friends or strangers in a conversation that might take place over weeks or months. Adapt this guide for your group and your intentions, choosing a focus and readings you find meaningful and relevant.

Download the Better Conversations PDF here

From the guide…

Our young century is awash with questions of meaning, of how we structure our common life, and who we are to each other. It seems we are more divided than ever before – unable to speak across the differences we must engage to create the world we want for ourselves and our children.

Yet you and I have it in us to be nourishers of discernment, fermenters of healing. We have the language, the tools, the virtues – and the calling, as human beings – to create hospitable spaces for taking up the hard questions of our time.

This calling is too important and life-giving to wait for politics or media at their worst to come around. We can discover how to calm fear and plant the seeds of the robust civil society we desire and that our age demands.

This is civic work and it is human, spiritual work – in the most expansive 21st century sense of that language. We can learn for our time what moral imagination, social healing, and civil discourse can look like and how they work.

The Civil Conversations Project is a collection of audio, video, writings, and resources for planting new conversations in families and communities. How do we speak the questions we don’t know how to ask each other? Can we find ways to cross gulfs between us about politics and the meaning of community itself? How to engage our neighbors who have become strangers? Can we do that even while we continue to hold passionate disagreements on deep, contrasting convictions? How is technology playing into all this, and how can we shape it to human purposes? You will have your own questions – particular to your community and concerns – to add.

We insist on approaching civility as an adventure, not an exercise in niceness. It is a departure from ways of being and interacting that aren’t serving our age of change. This is a resource and reflection for beginning this adventure — creating new spaces for listening, conversation, and engagement. We’ve created it as producers, but more urgently as citizens.

Public life is bigger than political life. We have narrowly equated the two in recent years, and we’ve impoverished ourselves in the process. Public life includes all of our disciplines and endeavors, including our selves as citizens and professional people and neighbors and parents and friends. The places we’ve looked for leadership and modeling have become some of the most broken in our midst. And so it is up to us, where we live, to start having the conversations we want to be hearing and creating the realities we want to inhabit.

I have seen that wisdom, in life and society, emerges precisely through those moments when we have to hold seemingly opposing realities in a creative tension and interplay: power and frailty, birth and death, pain and hope, beauty and brokenness, mystery and conviction, calm and fierceness, mine and yours.

About On Being
On Being is a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast, a Webby Award-winning website and online exploration, a publisher and public event convener. On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? We explore these questions in their richness and complexity in 21st-century lives and endeavors. We pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; we esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact.

Resource Link: www.civilconversationsproject.org/

The World Café: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter

The 300-page book, The World Cafe, was written by Juanita Brown and David Isaacs and published April 2005. In the first comprehensive book on the World Café, co-founders Brown and Isaacs introduce readers to this simple yet powerful conversational process for thinking together, evoking collective intelligence, and creating actionable results.

Beautifully illustrated with stories contributed by World Café practitioners, this is still the most definitive compendium of Café Know-How available.

Available in Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Japanese, Simple Chinese, Complex Chinese, German, Korean, and Thai. Below is an excerpt from the foreword of the book, which can be purchased on the World Café site here.

From the foreword…

We Can Be Wise Only Together
By Margaret J Wheatley

The World Café process reawakens our deep species memory of two fundamental beliefs about human life. First, we humans want to talk together about things that matter to us. In fact, this is what gives satisfaction and meaning to life. Second, as we talk together, we are able to access a greater wisdom that is found only in the collective.

The World Café in Action
As you read the stories and counsel in this book, you will see these two beliefs brought to life in the Café process. In order to provoke your exploration of them, I’d like to underline some of the dimensions of the Café process that bring these beliefs into vibrant, healthy reality.

Belief in Everybody
The World Café is a good, simple process for bringing people together around questions that matter. It is founded on the assumption that people have the capacity to work together, no matter who they are. For me, this is a very important assumption. It frees us from our current focus on personality types, learning styles, emotional IQ—all the popular methods we currently use to pre-identify and pre-judge people. Each of these typologies ends up separating and stereotyping people. This is not what was intended by their creators, but it is what has happened. The Café process has been used in many different cultures, among many different age groups, for many different purposes, and in many different types of communities and organizations. It doesn’t matter who the people are—the process works. It works because people can work well together, can be creative and caring and insightful when they’re actively engaged in meaningful conversations around questions that count. I hope that these stories inspire us to move away from all the categories and stereotypes we currently use about who should be involved, who should attend a meeting—all the careful but ill-founded analysis we put into constructing the “right” group. We need to be focused on gathering the real diversity of the system, but that’s quite different from being absorbed with these other sorting devices.

Diversity
It’s important to notice the diversity of the places and purposes for which the World Café is used, and the diversity of participants who are encouraged to attend World Café gatherings. These pages contain a rich illustration of a value I live by: we need to depend on diversity. Including diversity well is a survival skill these days, because there’s no other way to get an accurate picture of any complex problem or system. We need many eyes and ears and hearts engaged in sharing perspectives. How can we create an accurate picture of the whole if we don’t honor the fact that we each see something different because of who we are and where we sit in the system? Only when we have many different perspectives do we have enough information to make good decisions. And exploring our differing perspectives always brings us closer together. One Café member said it well: “You’re moving among strangers, but it feels as if you’ve known these people for a long time.” Invitation In every World Café, there’s a wonderful feeling of invitation. Attention is paid to creating hospitable space. But the hospitality runs much deeper. It is rooted in the host’s awareness that everyone is needed, that anyone might contribute something that suddenly sparks a collective insight. Café facilitators are true hosts—creating a spirit of welcome that is missing from most of our processes. It’s important to notice this in the stories here, and to contrast it with your own experience of setting up meetings and processes. What does it feel like to be truly wanted at an event, to be greeted by meeting hosts who delight in your presence, to be welcomed in as a full contributor?

Listening
When people are engaged in meaningful conversation, the whole room reflects curiosity and delight. People move closer physically, their faces exhibit intense listening, and the air becomes charged with their attention to each other. A loud, resonant quiet develops, broken by occasional laughter. It becomes a challenge to call people back from these conversations (which I always take as a good sign).

Movement
In the World Café process, people generally move from table to table. But it’s much more than physical movement. As we move, we leave behind our roles, our preconceptions, our certainty. Each time we move to a new table, we lose more of ourselves and become bigger—we now represent a conversation that happened among several people. We move away from a confining sense of self and our small certainties into a spaciousness where new ideas can reveal themselves. As one participant describes it: “It’s almost as if you don’t know where the thought came from because it has merged so many times that it has been molded and shaped and shifted with new dimensions. People are speaking for each other and using words that started somewhere else that they hadn’t thought of before.” We also move into a greater awareness as we look for connections amongst the conversations, as we listen to voices other than our own. Patterns become apparent. Things we couldn’t see from our own narrow perspective suddenly become obvious to the entire group.

Good Questions
World Café dialogues, like all good conversations, succeed or fail based on what we’re talking about. Good questions—ones that we care about and want to answer—call us outward and to each other. They are an invitation to explore, to venture out, to risk, to listen, to abandon our positions. Good questions help us become both curious and uncertain, and this is always the road that opens us to the surprise of new insight.

Energy
I’ve never been in a World Café that was dull or boring. People become energized, inspired, excited, creative. Laughter is common, playfulness abounds even with the most serious of issues. For me this is proof positive of how much we relish being together, of how wonderful it is to rediscover the fact of human community. As one host from a very formal culture says: “My faith in people has been confirmed. Underneath all the formal ways of the past, people really want to have significant conversations. People everywhere truly love to talk with each other, learn together, and make a contribution to things they care about.”

Discovering Collective Wisdom
These are some of the Café dimensions that bring out the best in us. But this is only half the story. World Café conversations take us into a new realm, one that has been forgotten in modern, individualistic cultures. It is the realm of collective intelligence, of the wisdom we possess as a group that is unavailable to us as individuals. This wisdom emerges as we get more and more connected with each other, as we move from conversation to conversation, carrying the ideas from one conversation to another, looking for patterns, suddenly surprised by an insight we all share. There’s a good scientific explanation for this, because this is how all life works. As separate ideas or entities become connected to each other, life surprises us with emergence—the sudden appearance of new capacity and intelligence. All living systems work in this way. We humans got confused and lost sight of this remarkable process by which individual actions, when connected, lead to much greater capacity.

About World CaféWorld Cafe_logo
Using seven design principles and a simple method, the World Café is a powerful social technology for engaging people in conversations that matter, offering an effective antidote to the fast-paced fragmentation and lack of connection in today’s world. Based on the understanding that conversation is the core process that drives personal, business, and organizational life, the World Café is more than a method, a process, or technique – it’s a way of thinking and being together sourced in a philosophy of conversational leadership.

Follow on Twitter: @TWCcommunity

Resource Link: www.theworldcafe.com/world-cafe-book/

The Wise Democracy Project

The Wise Democracy Project was initiated by Tom Atlee of the Co-Intelligence Institute with impetus and tremendous help from Martin Rausch in Switzerland, between July 2016 and March 2017.

The Wise Democracy Project has been created to inspire the formation of a community of practice around approaches and innovations that can further the development of a democratic system capable of generating wise public policy and collective activities. “Wise” in this context means taking into account what needs to be taken into account for long-term broad benefit. D&D – and conversation and generative interaction generally – are central to this worldview and are contextualized for their gifts among many other dimensions of a wise democracy.

The project includes both broad theory and, in particular, an initial “pattern language” of 70 design guidelines, each of which can be applied through many different modes and approaches, using different tools and resources. The pattern language site (and its accompanying set of freely downloadable modular cards) provides a space for the gathering of additional examples and resources in each design category – and the analysis of any given case of democratic practice or vision, clarifying its specific gifts and improvable shortcomings.

The Wise Democracy Pattern Language was inspired by – and is a large-system companion to – the GroupWorksDeck.org pattern language for group process, which is familiar to many NCDD members. In fact, there is a parallel project underway linking the two pattern languages into a more coherent whole.

The relevance of the Wise Democracy Project to NCDD is that it adds a larger dimension to the work of D&D professionals, a vision of a civilization capable of generating actual collective wisdom. D&D practitioners can, if they choose, view their work as part of that larger civilizational mission and, using the models, patterns and networks associated with the Wise Democracy Project, focus their efforts in ways that empower that larger undertaking.

About The Co-Intelligence Institute
The nonprofit Co-Intelligence Institute (CII) promotes awareness of co-intelligence and of the many existing tools and ideas that can be used to increase it. The CII embraces all such ideas and methods, and explores and catalyzes their integrated application to democratic renewal, community problems, organizational transformation, national and global crises and the creation of just, vibrant, sustainable cultures. The goal of the CII is the conscious evolution of culture in harmony with nature and with the highest human potentials.We research, network, advocate, and help organize leading-edge experiments and conversations in order to weave what is possible into new, wiser forms of civilization.

Resource Link: www.wd-pl.com/

This resource was submitted by Tom Atlee, co-founder of The Co-Intelligence Institute via the Add-a-Resource form.

Red Blue Dictionary

The Red Blue Dictionary, in partnership with Allsides, is a collaborative effort with dozens of dialogue experts from the NCDD network, to create a site that gives definitions for a wide variety of words to help those all across the political spectrum better understand each other.

The idea for the website stemmed from the “Red Blue Dialogue brainstorming session” at the 2012 NCDD conference in Seattle, where Joan Blades, Amanda Roman and Jacob Hess decided to further develop the idea. Living Room Conversations, in early 2016, continued to support the effort by funding Jacob Hess to develop the site. Since then, all contributions to flesh out the Red Blue dictionary have been on a volunteer basis. You can peruse some of the highlight of the Red Blue dictionary below and find the full site here.

From the site…

This guide to America’s contested vocabulary has been written by a politically diverse team of 30 contributors from the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation. Inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s Team of Rivals, our editorial and contributor teams draw together dialogue experts from maximally diverse backgrounds: religious & atheist, liberal & conservative, Marxist & capitalist, anarchist & libertarian, independent & partisan, hippie & traditionalist, Neil Diamond fans & the rest of us.

Are Americans losing the capacity to disagree in healthy ways? If so, how can we restore (and preserve) our civic ecosystem?

What would it mean to get curious about our differences? (and maybe even smile a little..)

Welcome to a Less-Painful, More Enjoyable Conversation

TOPIC-SPECIFIC TALKING-TIPS
Overwhelmed at the thought of venturing into contested word-territory. Have no fear! Issue-specific guides have been created to lay the groundwork to get you moving.

DIALOGUE EXAMPLES
And you thought super-heroes were cool? Buckle up…because these dialogue pioneers are going to rock your world.

REAL-TIME WORD WATCHERS
Every day some word seems to take on a new meaning…or lose an old…or become weaponized. We’re keeping an eye on that (78 eyes, to be exact) – to help you stay on top of it all!

ACCESSIBLE, EASY-READING
Worried about slipping into some college textbook? Don’t be. We’ve written textbooks before and don’t like them either…!

POLITICAL HUMOR
When was the last time you had a good belly laugh? Beware – because we’re coming after you with political bumper-stickers (and lots of other giggle-provocateurs).

TROLL-PROOF COMMENT SYSTEM
Tired of spending your life listening in to ONE more nasty-aggressive-mean-spirited comment? (Us too) We came across an innovator with the answer…and we think you’re gonna like it!

JUICY QUESTIONS
Tired of (more) small-talk at family parties? Pull one of these mind-popping inquiries out and let the (better) times roll!

WORD MAPS
Confused at why that word means X to THEM and Y to THOSE PEOPLE? Lucky for you! We got some of THEM and THOSE PEOPLE to collaborate on a guide to help us make sense of it all…hope it’s helpful!

CONVERSATION CATALYSTS
Stumped with a word (or person-using-a-word) that you really-cannot-fathom? Check out some of our suggested links to videos and other reading sure to liven (and loosen) things up a bit…

Categorical
The following categories are offered as another way to help orient readers to the terms, which are otherwise organized alphabetically. These categories are organized thematically in general idea clusters – with each term potentially showing up more than once across the different categories:

Race, Ethnicity & Class
Food, Environment & Health
Gender, Sexuality & Family
Life, Death & Conflict
Spirituality, Religion & Doubt
Money, Power & Freedom
Government Systems & Agencies
American History & Tradition
U.S.-World Relations
Education, Learning & Knowledge
Hostility, Dialogue & Peace
Judgment, Interpretation & Deliberation
Liberal & Progressive Thinking
Conservative & Traditional Thinking
U.S. Elections 2016
New & Unusual Terms

Find the Red Blue Dictionary explorations of these categories at the resource link below!

Resource Link: http://redbluedictionary.org/

How to Develop Discussion Materials for Public Dialogue

The 28-page guide from Everyday Democracy, How to Develop Discussion Materials for Public Dialogue, was published November 2007. This guide describes in detail the process for developing materials for public dialogue, as have been used to develop the Everyday Democracy discussion guides. From how to get started, this guide provides tips for creating a team that represents though the guide is aimed toward and some best practices for when selecting team contributors. The guide continues with four templates for developing each step of the process when developing materials, some exercises for writing, and some addition optional elements to consider developing.

Below is an excerpt of the guide, which is available for download as PDF on Everyday Democracy’s site here.

ED_Develop_dialogue_materialsFrom Everyday Democracy…

Good discussion materials help people explore a complex, public issue from a wide range of views, and find solutions that they can agree to act on and support. Discussion materials don’t have to provide all the answers; instead, they provide a framework and a starting place for a deep, fair discussion where every voice can be heard.

Keep in mind that this is an art, not a science. As you write, think about your audience. Don’t overestimate what people know, but don’t underestimate their intelligence. Trust the public, and trust the process.

The step-by-step instructions provided here mirror the order that many discussion guides follow. They are designed to help the writing team move through a series of meetings and tasks to produce the discussion materials.

Guiding principles
Your discussion guide should…

– give people a sense that their voice matters.
– connect personal experience to public issues.
– help people understand the power of collective thinking and collaborative work.
– welcome all points of view.
– acknowledge and embrace cultural differences.
– help build trust.
– encourage people to analyze the values and assumptions that underlie their views.
– help people uncover common ground and find better solutions.
– help people move from dialogue to action.

Characteristics of effective discussion guides
An effective discussion guide…

– addresses a current issue with broad public appeal.
– provides a starting place for a safe and open discussion.
– presents many different points of view about the issue, without promoting any particular point of view or solution.
– represents widely held views of citizens and experts.
– is easy for people from all walks of life to use.
– is brief and uses plain, jargon-free language. Quotes or viewpoints should soundlike something people might actually say.
– states each viewpoint clearly, in the “voice” of a person who holds that view.
– helps people learn about the issue.
– helps people explore areas of disagreement.
– may include sample action ideas

About Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy (formerly called the Study Circles Resource Center) is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since our founding in 1989, we’ve worked with hundreds of communities across the United States on issues such as: racial equity, poverty reduction and economic development, education reform, early childhood development and building strong neighborhoods. We work with national, regional and state organizations in order to leverage our resources and to expand the reach and impact of civic engagement processes and tools.

Follow on Twitter: @EvDem

Resource Link: www.everyday-democracy.org/resources/how-develop-discussion-materials-public-dialogue

Speed Meeting Activity for Community Addressing Racism

The three-page, Speed Meeting Activity for Community Addressing Racism, by Everyday Democracy was published October 2014 on ED’s site here. This activity is designed to address racial equity issues, and is especially helpful for those using the Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation discussion guide [by Everyday Democracy].

Participants are given a printout of a clock with four meeting times: at the 3:00, 6:00, 9:00, and 12:00. Each person finds a partner in the room to meet with during each of these times (4 meet ups total). Each time slot has a different question to explore with the partner “scheduled” at that time, and after all four meet ups, there is an overall group debrief at the end. Below is an excerpt from the activity and you can find the entire activity on Everyday Democracy’s site here.

ED_address racismFrom Everyday Democracy…

This activity can be used whenever people don’t know each other and need to connect at any phase of the work, and especially in the organizing phase.

Purpose of Activity:
– To get participants comfortable talking in pairs and about race/ethnicity
– To allow participants an opportunity to reflect on their past and present experiences
– To help participants feel more comfortable thinking about their experiences through a racial/ethnic/cultural lens.

Background:
This activity was created so that participants could start talking about race and ethnicity in pairs. This activity help participants begin to build relationships. Through answering the 6:00 to 9:00 questions, participants will be able to reflect on their past and present experiences through a racial/ethnic/cultural lens.

Find the entire activity on ED’s site here

About Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy (formerly called the Study Circles Resource Center) is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since our founding in 1989, we’ve worked with hundreds of communities across the United States on issues such as: racial equity, poverty reduction and economic development, education reform, early childhood development and building strong neighborhoods. We work with national, regional and state organizations in order to leverage our resources and to expand the reach and impact of civic engagement processes and tools.

Follow on Twitter: @EvDem

Resource Link: http://everyday-democracy.org/resources/speed-meeting-activity-communities-addressing-racism

Racial Dynamics to Watch For

The two-page tip sheet from Everyday DemocracyRacial Dynamics to Watch For, was published April 2010. The tip sheet gives pointers on how to keep racial dynamics in mind, in order to design better and more inclusive programs/events. The tip sheet gives advice for three categories: Planning and organizing, Dialogues and facilitation, and Working on Action. Below is an excerpt from the tip sheet and it’s available on Everyday Democracy’s site here.

From Everyday Democracy…

As you approach a large community-change initiative, pay attention to racial dynamics. Consider the following examples. Talk about how you might prevent or correct these situations.

Planning and organizing
– The organizing committee recruits one person of color to “represent” the African American / Latino / or Asian “community”.

-The chair of the group selects a large, prosperous, white church – or another venue frequented by whites – a a regular meeting site for the organizing team.

-The group decides to rotate meeting sites between a prosperous white church and a local black church. White attendance is very low when the meeting takes place as the black church.

Dialogues and facilitation
– The white facilitator seems to lead most of the times; the person of color who is co-facilitating tends to do more note-taking.

– The white organizer checks in with the white facilitator about how things are going.

– One or two people or color in a circle or 10 are asked to speak for their whole group.

Working on Action
– Action groups are often dominated by whites. While people of color may be invited to participate, they are more “for show”. Old habits and behaviors continue, and whites stay in the lead.

– As people form new partnerships to address problems in the community, they hesitate to include people from different racial groups.

– People who are most affected by new policies are shut out. They have no voice in the policy making.

This is a condensed version of Racial Dynamics to Watch For, the original can be found in full on Everyday Democracy’s site here.

About Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy (formerly called the Study Circles Resource Center) is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since our founding in 1989, we’ve worked with hundreds of communities across the United States on issues such as: racial equity, poverty reduction and economic development, education reform, early childhood development and building strong neighborhoods. We work with national, regional and state organizations in order to leverage our resources and to expand the reach and impact of civic engagement processes and tools.

Follow on Twitter: @EvDem

Resource Link: http://everyday-democracy.org/resources/racial-dynamics-watch

10 Ways to Make Your Materials More Inclusive

The article, 10 Ways to Make Your Materials More Inclusive, from Everyday Democracy provide tips to make your materials (and events) more inclusive when engaging the community. These guidelines recommend ways to take into consideration diverse human experiences and expressions, in order to have better designed dialogue and deliberation processes. You can find the article below and in full on Everyday Democracy’s site here.

From Everyday Democracy…

As diverse as we are racially, ethnically and culturally, we are also very diverse in how we learn. When we train, facilitate or write guides, we should pay attention to different learning styles. For example, some people need graphs and charts to understand information, and others need a written explanation. Still others need to hear a presentation. Some people thrive in a group setting, while others need time for self-reflection. There may also be various levels of literacy or English-language skills within groups.

To develop discussion materials that will make your dialogues more inclusive of varying learning styles and literacy levels:

1. Add color and graphics to highlight important information.

Your materials are probably filled with a lot of text, so using color and graphics can help highlight the important points. Also, plenty of white space can help people digest the information more quickly.

2. Use simple language.

It’s always good practice to avoid run-on sentences, but you should also watch out for difficult terms and jargon. Think to yourself, “How would I explain this to my 10-year-old neighbor?” Using simple language will help everyone better understand the process, especially people with lower literacy levels or for whom English is not their first language.

3. Define vocabulary.

If you can’t avoid using certain terms, create a glossary or define difficult words in the sidebars. For concepts that may be hard to define or that may have multiple definitions, you can invite dialogue participants to have a discussion about the terms if there is disagreement among the group.

4. Include an audio option as a guide supplement.

Since some people absorb information more quickly through hearing the information instead of reading it, you might want to consider including an audio CD or links to podcasts with your guide. The entire guide doesn’t need to have an audio component, but having an audio component for the introduction and key concepts for each session would be a useful addition to your guide.

5. Use an animated visual, like a comic strip, to explain the process.

This helps visual learners to quickly understand key concepts and helps cut down the time needed for explanations.

6. Provide alternatives for visual information.

Whenever you present a graph or chart, also include a verbal explanation for the information you are presenting. This allows people to absorb the information in a way that’s easiest for them.

7. Translate materials.

In your dialogue groups you may have people who don’t speak any English. If you have the resources, consider translating materials into the most widely used language(s) in your community. If you can’t translate the entire discussion guide, another option is to create handouts for each session that could be translated into other languages.

8. Include activities that allow for physical movement.

This increases interactivity, but also helps take into consideration learning styles that call for more physical interaction.

9. Include activities in which participants can role play/switch roles.

These activities not only help make the discussions more interactive, but they also help participants experience an issue from a different perspective.

10. Allow time for reflection.

Set aside a few minutes at the end of a session for journaling or self-reflection for those people who need a few moments to process information.

About Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy (formerly called the Study Circles Resource Center) is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since our founding in 1989, we’ve worked with hundreds of communities across the United States on issues such as: racial equity, poverty reduction and economic development, education reform, early childhood development and building strong neighborhoods. We work with national, regional and state organizations in order to leverage our resources and to expand the reach and impact of civic engagement processes and tools.

Follow on Twitter: @EvDem

Resource Link: http://everyday-democracy.org/tips/10-ways-make-your-materials-more-inclusive