Peaceful World Center at the Red Victorian Bed & Breakfast San Francisco




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The Process: Eight Steps to a Peaceful Peaceful World Conversation

A successful Peaceful World Conversation consists of several phases. Here is a breakdown of the conversation process in eight useful steps. While you may find these guidelines to be very helpful in hosting your own Peaceful World Conversation, feel free to adjust and modify your process to the needs of your participants and location. If you have any comments or suggestions about this eight-step process, please let us know!


Step One:

Getting Settled. Invite guests to the table. Briefly explain to anyone what is about to happen and help everyone get situated at the table or tables. Invite participants to bring their coffee, tea, food, etc. to the table. Encourage everyone to get settled somewhat quickly so that the conversation can start on time.

Step Two:

Introductions. Invite each person to take a turn in introducing themselves to the group. Phrase the introductory sentence in an unusual way. Rather than just having everyone say their name and where they come from, ask each person to say something more specific and personalized about themselves. For example: "My name is ______ and I live in ______ and the kind of house I live in is made of ______ and is ______ style and ______ size and when I look out my window I see ______.”

Step Three:

Getting Started. Have each person read one ingredient of a good conversation off of the conversation table card. The host can briefly explain each ingredient as it is read if he or she wishes.

Step Four:

Choosing a Topic. The topic of the conversation is carefully chosen to open a world of can-do peace-building possibilities and insights. Host introduces one or two possibilities for the topic of conversation. These can be taken from conversation topic cards on the table, or improvised. Guests are encouraged to choose from these options and/or modify them as they wish. This part of the discussion should only last a few minutes.

Step Five:

The First Round, setting the stage. Host invites each person in rotation (it is OK to pass and come in later, or not at all) to give a name, a word, or a phrase associated with what they will talk about relating to the chosen topic. For example, if the subject is “Enlightenment experiences in peaceful travel” a person’s phrase could be: "The time I got lost and met this person..." or "One of the most important things I've learned in my life so far..." or a word as brief as "generosity." It is often convenient if the host goes first, thus demonstrating an example of focus and time, etc. These preliminary statements going around the table do not need to be responded to by the other participants. The conversation will open up after this first round. As people give their topics, often the undecided are stimulated to discover their own. These conversations are not only about learning about others, but also learning and voicing about ourselves. The host may want to interject a short pause for coffee refills and a stretch. The break should be short and casual.

Step Six:

An Open Conversation. Each conversationalist, in turn, elaborates on his or her initially proposed word or phrase as it relates to the chosen conversation topic. Each talks about his/her personal experiences and contributions to positive, creative peace-building realities in their lives, which can be passed on to empower other conversationalists and encourage actual action in the world.

As each person finished his/her contributions, others may comment if they wish. The conversation then moves around to the next person. It is perfectly OK for anyone to pass and wait for later. When all have contributed, the conversation is open and flows from there. There is plenty to talk about and discover.

Step Seven:

Wrapping It Up. The host calls "time" about 5 minutes before the conversation's end, asking if people want to finish the conversation or continue. If the consensus is to end, the host asks every one to consider how their own or others’ conversation contributions can be applied to their future actions, thoughts, perspectives, travels, and lives. The conversation does not have to have a clean-cut ending, but some sort of conclusion is helpful for everyone to feel satisfied. It often happens that people linger much longer after the structured part of the conversation. Sometimes they break up into twos or threes, meet for dinner that evening or later in their trip. In this short conversation time, strangers have become new friends to enjoy during their stay in the B&B or in the city.

Step Eight:

Follow-Up. The Host should thank everyone for taking part in a Peaceful World Conversation and encourage them to take some information with them to be able to start their own conversations in their hometowns or travel destinations. The host gives everyone a follow-up card and invites them to fill it out at their convenience. Participants can give their follow-up cards to the host right there or send it in themselves to Peaceful World Travel Headquarters to keep us informed of the outcomes of this and other conversation experiences.