This morning I was part of the virtual “A Small Group” conversation hosted by Elaine and Eric Hansen, who also host the actual in-person A Small Group in Cincinnati, Ohio. The purpose of the monthly (4th Wednesdays) virtual conversation is to practice having Peter Block’s “Six Conversations,” which are fully described in his useful book, “Community: The Structure of Belonging.” That is, can we learn to host conversations in our communities that encourage:
- Invitation rather than mandate
- Possibility rather than problem solving
- Ownership rather than blame
- Dissent rather than resignation and lip service
- Commitment rather than barter
- Gifts rather than deficiencies
Today’s conversation was about gifts. We started, as usual, with a brief “connecting conversation” flowing from the question “What must you let go of in order to be fully present for this conversation?” This question brought attention to my busy mind which is full of to-do lists, deer-in-the-garden concerns, and the four World Cup matches happening today, among other things. Acknowledging these things actually does make it possible to set them aside for a an hour or so and just be in conversation with my colleagues on the call.
Then we had three more conversations, responding to the following questions:
- What feedback have you received that still surprises you?
- What gratitude do you hold that has gone unspoken?
- And, what gifts did you receive today from those in your conversation group?
After each, there is an opportunity in the “whole group” to share “what struck you about the conversation you just had?”
I invite you to join in this monthly practice. Just sign up and you will receive a monthly invitation and a reminder on the morning (0830 Pacific time) of the conversation.
Here’s to powerful questions!