ConversationLabs

Building Trust One Conversation at a Time

Why were the ConversationLabs created?

Building trust and social-emotional learning

Without trust in ourselves and in each other, we wander in isolation between vigilance and vulnerability. Humans have a yearning to soften the barriers that separate us and to meet the other in ways that enable trust to emerge. At times, we have all had a meaningful conversation with another person, yet how that happened feels random.

How to co-create a meaningful conversation is a bit of a mystery unless we have new social forms. A ConversationLab is a new social form letting us practice meaningful conversations that can strengthen social-emotional learning.

Illustrated graphic of five people of various skin tones standing and sitting near a round table.
Designers of the ConversationLabs have crafted a sequence of experiences for 3-6 people, all in an hour, to share stories and co-create meaningful encounters with each other.  This new social form leads to unexpected stories, meaningful conversation and budding trust.
  • Toward more meaningful and deeper conversations
  • Toward healthy relationships and trust
  • Building confidence in our own voice

Why are ConversationLabs effective?

Creative, fun, with powerful stories

ConversationLabs provide an opportunity to disrupt routine and convention. We change when we hear someone else’s concrete, personal experience: our prejudices recede a bit, our interest is awakened. We can break through the outer shells which our culture has told us matter: physical appearance, wardrobe, speech, mannerisms.

By joining a learning lab for one hour, ConversationLabs demystify meaningful conversation: we experience the dynamics and build skills. For example, participants read aloud and practice Phrasing Cards that help raise our consciousness about how we introduce our ideas to a group.

When was the last time we had 3 minutes of uninterrupted time to share an experience or story with a small group of people? We learn more about listening and about being awake to how we use time and our own creativity.

Every ConversationLab experience is unique, and the more times we participate, the more we develop ourselves and learn how to meet the other with grace and mutual respect.

Illustrated graphic of five people of various skin tones sitting around a round table.

Where can we use ConversationLabs?

Where will we invest in building trust?

Refreshing existing teams or launching new ones

Onboarding new staff or board members

Engaging community groups

Recovering congregations, post-Covid

Enlivening independent and assisted living centers

Melding faculty, parents, and students

Addressing trauma, grief and Hospice work

We are in mostly post-Covid societies and organizations.  Social awkwardness and avoidance, along with appealing and competitive “stay at home” communication options have eroded our confidence to “meet the other” in person. Cell phones are like magnets for attention, and it feels as if we are interrupting someone if we begin to converse at all!

ConversationLabs have broad application and the high quality sets can be shared among community groups, departments, and schools.

We hope to see non-profit and community groups able to “check out” ConversationLab sets to use for events – perhaps from Community Foundations or NGO Resource Centers, or libraries.

Within corporations they have wide application to team-building and cross-silo meet-ups. We struggle to trust people we don’t know and if we don’t trust each other, our capacity to cooperate is diminished.

For Training professionals, there will be an 8-hour, synchronous and asynchronous course available in February, 2024.