Transparency Tools–Conference Kick-off!

I think that there are two extreme philosophies of community building. The first is the Field of Dreams Model: if you build it (buildings, infrastructure, gardens) they (community members) will come. The second is the Take Care of the Relationships Model. The relationships between the people building the community are the most important thing, and the strength of the community depends on the strength of these relationships and their ability to successfully work through conflicts. If the relationships are strong, any other problem is manageable by the group. This is of course an incredibly reductivist view of community and naturally both elements are crucial to successful community building. But I think that the elements of the Relationships Model tends to get overlooked more frequently than the elements of the Field of Dreams Model. People get excited about a shared vision and shared values, and in all the excitement this vital piece can get overlooked; often with detrimental results down the line.

ListeningSo how do you build and strengthen relationships in a community context? Or amongst a group of people who are interested in creating a new community? That’s what the Conference’s Friday night teaser will start diving into. We will give you first-hand experience of these tools, and start building our little weekend Communities Conference Community right off the bat. There will also be an entire workshop block dedicated to this topic, and likely some Open Space options as well. To get your juices flowing, here are some examples of relationship building tools for a community context.

  1. Check-ins: Get present! This is a chance to share whatever is up for you in the moment; physically, mentally, emotionally.
  1. “If you really knew me….” This is just what it sounds like. A go around (or series of go arounds) where people complete the sentence “If you really knew me, you would know….” and then share whatever you want. This can range from the most mundane: “I love chocolate chip cookies but I hate oatmeal raisen cookies!” or “I always floss,” to broader things about your life “I’ve never lived in the same place for more than 2 years” “I’ve been married 4 times,” and even something you’ve always dreamed of doing “I’ve always wanted to ride a camel through the desert” or “Someday I’ll join a Bulgarian women’s choral group.” And it can be something deeply personal or hard to share. This game quickly puts the group at a deeper level of connection; suddenly you know all sorts of things about each other that normally can take months or even years to reveal in a “normal” relationship.Faces divine
  1. Hot/Love Seat: Now that you have heard lots of interesting tidbits about each other, this game allows you to go deeper and follow your curiosities. Whoever is on the hot/love seat is asked questions one at a time by everyone else for a set period of time. The focus person can pass on any question, and can answer the questions to whatever extent they feel comfortable. Each person gets a turn on the Hot Seat.

 In the end, these games help you get authentic, vulnerable, and connected way faster than you ever thought possible! If you want to read more about these kinds of games and transparency tools in general, check out this awesome blog post.  (The author attended a Transparency Tools workshop given at the recent Loud Love Conference near Twin Oaks last month).

We’re excited to start connecting with YOU at the Friday night Conference kick-off!