Be Part of the Better Conversations Movement
Conversations To Invigorate Community
It feels like we’re on the tip of an arrow. Inflection points arise every so often in history—the revolutionary 1960s, post-Civil War reconstruction of the 1860s, America’s nation building in the 1770s. Inside this moment of bewildering change is our opportunity to tip the scales in the generational crusade for liberty and justice for all.
Beneath the surface, beyond the headlines, a robust movement is building. A movement, writes David Brooks, that doesn’t know it’s a movement. The leaders aren’t politicians or Silicon Valley tycoons or media moguls or Hollywood stars.
The movement is us.
Political Scientist Erika Chenoweth created a theory of change based on her groundbreaking research called ‘The 3.5%’ Rule.’ If just this sliver of the population is effectively mobilized through non-violent means, massive social change is possible.
Our hope, then, lies in each other. Or more accurately, in finding new ways to move towards each other. Linking arms with neighbors. Seeking out those rolling up their sleeves to read to the kids and tend to the elders and cook for the lonely because no one is coming to save us.
“The future is not in building a new tower of power, but in cultivating well-trodden paths from house to house” says Brother David Steindl-Rast. Our power is network, not pyramid. It’s partnership, not dominance. It’s power with, not power over. The moment we realize just how many of us are out there, we find the strength to give the final push. We’re closer than we think, halfway through the birth canal, but the only way out is through.
Our mid-wife, our catalyst, is storytelling. Coaxing us to share where we’re broken, invigorating our imaginations to create a better future. To build better relationships, we need better conversations. Deeper, kinder conversations brimming with curiosity and overflowing with generous listening. Not because we want to convince or save, but because beloved community is only possible when we create spaces—in our homes, in coffee shops, on street corners—where brave hearts emerge from hiding and take refuge together.
We are called to take all the love that’s ever been poured into us and turn it inside out. The stakes are high. This is the moment to cash in our chips and spend them on someone who did nothing to deserve it, because the only way we’re getting out of here alive is together. Because love must be spent to be saved. Because love is the only power strong enough to build ever widening circles of mutuality big enough to contain us all.
- Shannon Mannon, Founder, 3-Minute Storyteller
How to Begin
Do you feel the urgency in this moment? Have you been looking for a simple way to get engaged in your community? Are you curious about how others arrive at their views? Are you a bridge builder, a connector, a warm place to land? Are you interested in forming deeper relationships with your neighbors?
Mother, friend, coach, activist, neighbor, brother—we need you to be part of the 3.5%! This is your invitation to become the change agent you’ve seen featured here at 3-Minute Storyteller. We’re thrilled to partner with Living Room Conversations to give you the tools to carry on the conversation in your community.
Chose a Conversation Pairing
Follow your curiosity and select one of the recommended topic-pairings below. Each pairing contains a 3-Minute video featuring a leader with a unique perspective on the topic, and a corresponding Living Room Conversation Guide. Conversation Guides are developed by diverse dialog experts to help participants discover shared values, even across differences.
- United or Divided?: Political and philosophical differences are normal in a healthy society. Our common values and our shared desire to solve problems should enable us to make principled compromises for our mutual well-being. Yet we are more polarized than ever before. What is the promise of America and how do we live up to it?
- Mental Health: Most people agree that we want to reduce the stigma around mental health. Yet mental illness is on the rise and more young people are suffering than ever before. There is interest in exploring a wider variety of ways to support mental health challenges. What issues does your community face? How can we help those who need it?
Watch: Melissa Fitzgerald on restorative justice and healing for veterans. OR
Watch: Nadine Burke Harris on our potential to heal our children and ourselves from health-damaging consequences of adverse childhood experiences.
Then discuss: Mental Health
- Search for Purpose: In our current economy, our value is often based on earning power or visible signs of success. What would happen if we set up a different valuation system, like a “well-being” or “happiness” quotient? What are the responsibilities of an individual to the community and the community to an individual and how does that impact how we create lives of meaning?
Watch: Doug Abrams on writing a book with the Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu, and the time it takes to become human. OR
Watch: Father Greg Boyle on our deep longing for community
Then discuss: Search for Purpose
Shaping the Conversation
Now follow Living Room Conversation’s six simple steps to plan your conversation. If you promote your conversation, please tag us and include hashtags #3MinuteStoryteller #LivingRoomConversations #BetterConversations #ConversationsInvigorateCommunity
A few days before your scheduled conversation, send participants the 3-Minute video and corresponding Living Room Conversation Guide. Share your intention for what this conversation will be. A chance to build relationships? To learn from a different point of view?
Remember that any intention to shift someone’s mind will be sniffed out and will impact the integrity of the conversation.
Create a virtuous cycle and shape a movement
As you close out and reflect on your conversation, be sure to:
- Encourage participants to compete Living Room Conversation Feedback form.
- Decide if you’d like to meet again to explore other topics together.
- Take a selfie (screen shot, photo or video) of your conversation and share it on social media.
- Tag us using hashtags #3MinuteStoryteller #LivingRoomConversations #BetterConversations #ConversationsInvigorateCommunity so we can all support each other.
Your feedback and amplification are critical in building this movement!
I’m interested but would like to learn more.
We are here for you. Here are some next steps:
- Attend a Living Room Conversation Nuts & Bolts Training call. These free monthly calls cover everything you need to know to host or participate. Training is not required – it’s just for people who want to learn more.
- Get a sense of a Living Room Conversation before you host. Sign up to receive weekly conversation offerings and events.
- Learn more about how Living Room Conversations can heal relationships and communities by contacting Becca Kearl: becca@LivingRoomConversations.org
For other questions, comments, or additional support reach out to Shannon Mannon: smannon@3MinuteStoryteller.com