I’ve written before about the Unhurried Conversations I host here in Cambridge. They have a simple format that prevents people interrupting each other. This seems to create a different and rich experience. We made this little film about how people find them.
As I explain in these past posts, the approach is simple. We use a sugar bowl as a talking piece: if you’re holding it, you get to talk uninterrupted; if you’re not holding it, you get to listen. Although this may seem strange at first, it seems to create a very different atmosphere.
Newcomers think it will be very hard not to interrupt (“what if someone talks for too long? what if someone says things I disagree with?) but then find the actual experience of listening is surprisingly satisfying. We may not need to speak as much as we think in order to feel involved. And then we we do get to speak, that too has a different quality – more reflective and thoughtful.
(Viv McWaters and I will be exploring more uses of more reflective approaches like this on our residential workshop in Cambridge from August 31st to September 2nd. Registration is £875 plus VAT.)