Roger M. Low came up with the idea for what became Kaleidoscope in the summer of 2013, when he brought together the first group of community leaders for facilitated dinner conversations at his home. Subsequently, Roger discovered materials which align with Kscope's model and philosophy. Below are some of the resources which have guided and continue to guide our efforts at Kscope. These resources may help you, if you're interested in embarking on a similar endeavor.
- How to Plan a Jefforsonian Dinner with Jeffery C. Walker
Hosts across the country are organizing a special kind of gathering called a Jeffersonian dinner. As described by Jeffrey C. Walker, the former Chairman of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Monticello), Jeffersonian dinners got their name from President Thomas Jefferson. President Jefferson reportedly hosted dinners at his home with invited colleagues and thought leaders to discuss important topics of the day. Key features of modern-day Jeffersonian dinners include:
- Gather in a comfortable, private space over food.
- Engage in a facilitated conversation with a purpose.
- Include at least some personal element during the evening, where each individual shares something about him/herself (e.g., If the topic for the Jeffersonian dinner is education reform, an opening question might be: Growing up, who was your favorite teacher?).
- Ensure no single person dominates the conversation.
- Avoid formal presentations or pitches.
- Engage everyone in a single conversation around the table; having twelve participants often works well, allowing for a diversity of ideas but also a level of intimacy.
- Invite people who will be interested in the conversation topic; participants often have no prior connection with the host.
- 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation by Celeste Headlee
In her May 2015 TEDxCreativeCoast talk, Celeste Headlee outlines ten ideas about how to have better conversations. Here we highlight four of those ideas which particularly resonate with our philosophy at Kscope:
- Listen. Listen to understand, not just reply. Prioritize listening over talking.
- Don’t pontificate.
- Don’t multi-task. Be present when you’re in conversation with others. Be in the moment. Only participate in the conversation if you want to participate.
- If you don’t know something, say that you don’t know.