design your own Living Room Conversation
We have 50 topics, but maybe you can’t find one that appeals to you? You can build your own topic with these easy guidelines.
Keep the questions for rounds 1 and 2 the same. These questions help us get to acquainted with one another and discover our common humanity.
work with your cohost to come up with several questions that satisfy you both;
be curious. What would you ask if you didn’t have an opinion or position?
examine what your own position is on the topic. Notice if you are framing questions that favor your viewpoint or disallow other viewpoints.
how did you develop your own perspective? What question would bring that out?
beware of including trigger words in your questions, like climate change, anti-___, rights and control.
Keep the questions for rounds 4 and 5 the same. They are designed to allow you and your guests to appreciate each other and declare any future action.
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Background reading (optional)
While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.
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Want to listen to an actual Living Room Conversation?
Check out our listings on LRC Radio.
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Now that you are all together, here we go!
This Living Room Conversation flows through five rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.
Before you begin your conversation, please go over the Conversation Ground Rules with your participants.
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One. Why are we here?
What interested you or drew you to this topic?
Two. Your core values
- what sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
- what would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you tick?
- what are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country, now and long-term?
Three. What are your biggest concerns about ____________________?
Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions and goals.
- in one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation;
- what new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
- has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
Five. Accomplishment and moving forward
- name one important thing that was accomplished here;
- is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?
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