Art of Hosting: Have conversations that matter

Posted in Community Leadership, Grants

Photo courtesy of Shape Shift Strategies Blog

What kind of conversations need to happen in your community right now? Who would be at the table? Would it be the right people? What do people need to know before they can fully participate in the conversation? How would the conversation start?

These are tough questions that are often times overlooked by organizers, but they can make all the difference in what results from the conversation.

Asking the right questions is a founding premise of Art of Hosting, an approach to having conversations that “invite people to step in and take charge of the challenges facing them.

People from all around the world are getting trained in the Art of Hosting, but Minnesota has taken a special interest. Both Bush Foundation and Blandin Foundation have worked with Meadowlark Institute, an organization that trains and supports leaders in the Art of Hosting, to host conversations that matter throughout rural Minnesota.

This work is integral to building inclusive communities. Through this process, new people are invited to call or join conversations that matter to them, conversations they may not have been invited to before.

These groups of people, coming from different backgrounds, learn to use a set of tools that uncover individual biases that arise out of their worldview.

Jerry Nagel, director of Meadowlark Institute, says, “We should remember that our worldview could be much different than someone else’s within our community or local cultural context. And, that people we are working with that are from other local contexts may have differing worldviews within that shared construct.”

He offers The Ladder of Inference as a tool for reflecting on how our worldview’s shape the way we think and communicate.

“As we practice dialogue in our world in order to find ways forward, we must develop the capabilities to work in the multi-varied and rich system of many worldviews. To do so, however, requires skill and practice and the capacity to hold paradoxes or multiple truths all at the same time.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Art of Hosting training opportunities, visit the Meadowlark Institute website and see the programming dates below.

Community World Cafe
September 23, 3-5 PM
Timberlake Lodge
Grand Rapids, MN

The Heart of Hosting the Subtle Energies
September 26-October 2
Frontenac, MN
Info here

The Art of Participatory Leadership
October 21-23
Mankato, MN
Info here

Collaborative Leadership and the Art of Hosting
October 28-30
North Conway, NH
Info here

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