facilitating & hosting

Art of Hosting – V. One

I have 30 pages of scribbled notes and mind maps from my recent Art of Hosting experience. I’m attempting to string my wow moments and insights into a harvest for others to enjoy. Introducing – volume one.

My World Café notes. I loved the flip chart showing the rhythm of the day as a pie chart instead of a traditional-looking agenda. The idea that World Café is the fastest way to find out what’s happening in a system and ours would set the stage for our dojo, our practice space. And the truth bomb “If not us, who? Who is going to host these conversations?”  Lovely how the World Café etiquette was used to unfold the what/why/how for our World Café and the tinkling tingshas were rung when it was time to move tables. Great perspective: we can apologize when interrupting or say “you’ve just had 1/3rd of a whole conversation!” I’m officially retiring my apologetic interrupting approach. And in that moment after the tingshas spoke, a host was asked to stay at each table (nice that this was done in the moment, honouring the emergent nature of this work), then we were asked once again when the tingshas paused us one more time. As hosts we were simply asked to share patterns that had been emerging. All groups worked from the same main questions posted, then moved to a second question that was explored over two rounds, so that all Café tables were pondering the same questions at the same time.

Then how about this one: Chris’ ban on report backs. Yahoo!! Means we have to get creative on how to make the conversation visible. Done simply by opening the floor for contributions on the question: what questions are emerging in our midst, then probed when seeing something resonate with others, all captured on one main flip chart. My biggest wow moment = I’m using too narrow of questions. Use broader questions. Wayyyyyy broader questions. Plus I’m ordering my own tingshas.

My answer to the question: So why am I really here? I’m really at this Art of Hosting because I believe a greater capacity exists in individuals and groups than currently encouraged. The way we’re working isn’t working (ht @tonyschwartz) e.g. in the corporate world we hear companies say they want “engaged customers and engaged employees” but use approaches rooted in command and control/mechanistic times. The result – we are not leaving the world in a better pace. The new futures waiting to be built will come from diverse people who have come together to co-create. I am called to this work, standing at the foot of the mountain of hosting conversations that matter. Not wanting to go it alone.

Try on that powerful question sometime this week – so why am I really here – see if it liquefies your insides like it did mine.