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Leading a conversation

Here's how it works:

  1. Gather everyone in a roughly semi-circle, with an opening near the front for people to add Post-Its to a wall at the front of the room.
  2. Do the introductions exercise (below).
  3. Read the opening statement and rules of the game (below).
  4. Do the "What if?" exercise together for each of the themes.
  5. Have attendees break into groups of 3-4 people (ideally people who previously did't know each other). to team up with in another Conversation. Those people then follow the instructions for Planning a Conversation
  6. Leaders record everyone's shared possibilities, and publish them online.

Introductions

It’s important to begin to know some of the people in our community. Each person introduce themselves and answer the following questions about themselves.

Use a timer to help people keep their intros under 15 seconds.

  1. What’s your name?
  2. What do you do during the week?

Opening statement

Welcome to a Somos Pasco conversation. This is a fun, interactive way for us to envision the future community we want.

We all can sense it: Pasco is emerging into its future as we speak. But the future shouldn't be something that just happens to us.

What if we could harness the best of our community's possibility, identify leaders, and work together to bring the best version of our future into existence?

We believe it's up to us to create the community we want to be part of.

We believe the voice and definition of our our community should come first and foremost from residents—from all who want to participate in a conversation about the future.

We believe we need a model for conversations about Pasco which provides an open opportunity for participation.

It's easy for people to feel apathetic about the future of our community when it feels out of our own control. But people who feel heard do not feel apathy. So be heard! That’s what this conversation is all about.

We have a few ground rules that I want to share with you as we get started.

Rule 1: Possibilities, not problems

This is a conversation about possibility and not problems.

Focusing on problems divides us, gets us looking for blame, and keeps us focused on the past and present. Possibilities unite us, and get us thinking about the future we want to create together.

In order to keep us focused on possibility and not problems, every sentence should start with "What if...?"

Rule 2: Local, not imports

We believe that we can do great things here in Pasco. There is a place for discussing what things from outside the area that it would be nice to have here.

Begging for imports is disempowering to our community and keeps us focused on thinking that we need permission from people outside our area to make our area better.

So instead of:

What if we finally got a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods?

Say:

What if our community could build a public market?

Or:

What if we could find a better way to make Pasco appealing to outside retailers?

Rule 3: "Improv" Rules

We are following "improv rules" here, which means we don't say "No" or disagree or argue about why it’s not a good idea. We say, "Yes, and..."

Within the constraints of the very basic ground rules we have, there are no wrong answers or ideas. There's no need to disagree or argue against anything you hear because these are all baby ideas. They shouldn't make us feel defensive.

So if someone said:

What if we had a bridge over the Columbia between Edison in Kennewick and Road 68 in Pasco?

Instead of saying:

That's the wrong place for a bridge. It should be to North Richland.

Say:

Yes, and another place worth considering would be to Richland.

Instead of saying:

We don't need another bridge! That's a waste of money.

Say:

Nothing. :)