As a host we want you to feel extra prepared, so we have provided you with some simple hosting tips to set you up for success!
In this article you'll find:
1. General Hosting Tips:
How do you keep the conversation moving?
If 1—2 people are dominating the conversation use your best judgment on when to kindly interrupt and acknowledge their passion by saying something like, “Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. Given our limited time, I want to make sure we hear from others before we move on to the next question.” Then, call on someone else who hasn’t shared yet or move on to the next question.
If the whole group gets way off track and you’re running out of time to answer the next question(s), you can politely say, “Sorry to interrupt, but just want to have a quick time check — I know a few of us have a hard stop at the end time, and we want to make sure we end on the final question. If we have time afterward, I’d love to continue this conversation.”
If there are guests who haven’t shared yet and the group hasn’t noticed, you can say something like, “Mary, I’d love to hear what you think about it, or what your experience has been.”
What to do if someone says something that is completely false or something you strongly disagree with?
It’s great that we live in a society that allows differences of opinion, and the best way to interject or encourage people to respond in a productive way is to say:
I like what you said about __ but I’m struggling with your statement about ___. I can see ___ but what about ___?
My concern with that is ___.
I think we may have different ideas on how to ___.
I would like to understand. Can you tell me more about what you mean by ___?
What do I do if someone says something hurtful?
Explain how their statements affected you. Express your thoughts respectfully, using responses such as: When I hear that, I feel ______ because _____.
2. Hosting at work or with an organization:
What do I do if someone mentions someone else by name who isn’t at the table in a negative context?
Given the environment, if someone mentions someone by name where others might be able to identify them (and the subject is not a known celebrity, but a colleague or peer), try your best to interrupt by saying something like, “Thank you for sharing, however as the host I must ask that we not mention names of those who aren’t here out of respect for everyone.”
What do I do if someone tells a traumatic story that may require professional support?
It doesn’t happen very often, but if someone feels safe to share a traumatic story or painful experience you can support them by acknowledging their bravery for sharing and recommend relevant support services (for example, phone lines and employee support organizations). Take care not to allow the group to probe the person for further information. It is important to end the conversation on a positive and supportive note if something like this is shared. The important thing is to show empathy while also taking care not to get into private matters. Do your best to keep the conversation on track and make sure to end on the uplifting final question.
3. Ground Rules:
Our ground rules help create a brave space where we honor what is shared and learned in conversation. By joining an Invlusivv conversation, attendees are agreeing to:
Listen With Curiosity
Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking. Try to listen first, and when others have a different point of view, do your best to respond with curiosity rather than judgment.
Engage With Empathy
Empathy is about trying to understand another person's experience and perspective. It’s an important skill that can be strengthened through conversation.
Speak authentically from your lived experience and welcome that from others. Personal stories open our hearts and help build understanding.
Respect Those With Lived Experience
Show consideration for others’ lived experiences and let them take the lead on how much they want to share.
Remember, while we’re all different, we’re all here because we believe in the power of conversation.