The Art of Hosting

Introductions

Early in the first session of this three-day gathering we are told we’ll do several introductions.  A nice idea that seems consistent with the perspective of hosting: a host at a party will typically need to make many introductions – of people to each other, of topics, of ways in which the event may unfold.

These were ‘introduce yourself’ introductions.  And the first was an invitation to say your name and two words people tend to associate with you.  While the phrase ‘poor golfer’ flashed across my mind, Chris Chapman explained that ‘invitation’ meant we didn’t necessarily have to stick to only two words.  And indeed few did.

The next round of introductions was in a circle, with 30 or so people sitting for the next hour or so in those red plastic chairs that tend to prove uncomfortable after about 20 minutes.

Passing a walking stick that we called a ‘talking stick’ clockwise from person to person, each stick holder spoke in answer to the question, “What makes your heart beat faster?”

 

Powerful Conversations That Matter

For Powerful Conversations That Matter, Chris Corrigan offered four suggestions.

1 Presence – for example, turn off your telephones and remove distractions from the outside world.

2 Participate. We’re invited to participate. A well-crafted invitation is more likely to produce more participation.

3 Be a practitioner of the Art of Hosting. A host prepares the space – the layout of the room is not accidental. As a host, bring the gift of listening carefully and asking questions.

4 Co-create.  This, Chris says can be difficult. I’m not so sure: I lean to a view that says we are co-creating whether we want to or not, so degrees of ease of difficulty don’t come into it.

Chris suggests that we face challenges that we don’t know what to do with individually.  We are asking for help and therefore are well advised to make good use of the gift of attention. 

My co-construction with this would be to suggest that what we choose to attend to (especially together) will have significant impact on what we co-construct.  And so asking more productive questions will tend to engender more productive co-constructions.

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