Join our community of Americans coming together to bridge what divides us. Join an event, host a conversation (it’s easy!), or even introduce Living Room Conversation into your community or organization.
Join our Community
One of the best ways to get involved is to host your own Living Room Conversation.
Host a Conversation
Living Room Conversations can take place in person or online video chat. There are six easy steps to hosting your own! Need additional support? Check out our hosting guidelines for in person and video conversations below.
Before hosting your conversation
Send the topic link for your conversation to participants and let them know that it may be helpful for them to read through the conversation guide beforehand (knowing what the questions are can help with expectations).
How to facilitate your conversation
- Make introductions and take care of any housekeeping items at the start of your conversation.
- Assure participants that what matters is their personal perspectives, not how much they know about a subject.
- Read the topic opening paragraph (from the conversation guide).
- Have each person read a ground rule aloud until they have all been read.
- Begin your conversation with round 1 and continue through all rounds
- Be attentive to all participants getting a chance to speak each round (this may involve “calling on” participants and/or noticing if participants raise their hands).
- At the end of the conversation, please share the Feedback form link with participants and ask them to fill it out immediately so we can continue to improve Living Room Conversations.
The Internet is Your Living Room
Modern technology removes the barriers that keep us from connecting with each other. Through online video chat we can have meaningful conversation with someone down the street or across the country. We can share our perspectives with others that live in communities very different from our own and, more importantly, we can learn their perspectives and what their lives are like.
How to Host an Online Living Room Conversation
How to use Appear.in for your Conversation
For many, Appear.in is the simplest video solution. You just go to a link, and you’re in the chat. Here’s how to use it for your conversation:
- Appear.in should work on all browsers, but if you’re using Safari, make sure you have the latest version. If you can possibly use the Google Chrome browser, that will give you the best experience.
- Go to Appear.in and create a room link on the front page. Call it something unique. After typing in your room name, click “Create new room” and it will take you to your unique video chat link that you can share with your participants.
- Go to your link and make sure your video works. Send your room link to a friend and ask them to briefly test it with you.
- Send your link to your participants along with the time and date for your online video conversation. Ask them to test the link ahead of time to make sure your video works.
- At the beginning of your conversation, ask your participants to click “Guest (edit name)” to enter their name.
If you have tech problems – don’t panic. Try using Google Chrome or restarting your computer.
How to use Zoom.us for your Conversation
Some people prefer to host their video conversation through Zoom. Zoom is a popular and easy video platform, but it requires downloading and installing their software. Living Room Conversations can provide you with a Zoom chat link. To use zoom for your video conversation:
- Confirm that you have 4-6 people for your video Living Room Conversation.
- Register your conversation here. When you register check the box to indicate that your conversation will be online and that you will be using zoom.
- If you would like to be provided a zoom link for your conversation and/or connect with one of our conversation organizers for a fifteen minute Zoom tutorial, please check the corresponding boxes on the registration form.
- For a detailed guide for using zoom for your conversation, click here.
Best Practices for Video Conversations
- Make sure you have your topic materials available. It’s helpful to read them over before the conversation.
- Position yourself so you are not backlit (i.e., avoid sitting in front of a window or lamp).
- Using headphones plugged into your computer can enhance your audio experience.
- Try to minimize environmental distractions (e.g.barking dogs, ringing phones, etc). If you have unexpected noise, please mute yourself until things quiet down.
- Test out your video platform about 10-15 minutes ahead of time, if you can.
- At the end of the conversation, please send your participants the feedback form link.