At the Meadowlark Institute we believe one of the most important decisions your organization, community or business will make is the selection of who will serve as your convener or host for an organizational staff or Board convening, planning process or public activity. We believe good convening is an Art. We believe that when people come together in dialogue they are entering into relationship with each other. Good convening/hosting understands this relational context and the importance of creating spaces where people can work together toward the highest potential outcome.
Hosting/convening is a practice of "being human together and meeting in our humanity"; its core elements are invitation, participation, learning, and transformative action that allow us to become conscious learners, in a community of learners. Meadowlark Institute supports a group to collectively move toward new meaning and wise actions by working with emergence, holding chaos and order. In this sense, hosting is distinct from process facilitation in the way it integrates both a personal practice of hosting oneself as a learner and the shared responsibility of being in service to the whole.
Meadowlark Institute staff and Partners are skilled at convening or hosting all types of meetings or events where people come together for dialogue to address issues of concern or opportunity. We can provide a full range of services including complete meeting planning (logistics, structure/agenda, invitations, etc.), agenda and structure planning, convening/hosting of the meeting and follow-up, including reports and harvest.
We believe that when participants in meetings are able to authentically engaged with each other, they will be energized and connected, generate meaningful conversation, open up for co-creation of something new, and become into alignment that leads to true commitment to the outcomes from those who participate.
We follow the principles of essential conversation developed by the Heartland Circle:
- Respect the call to gather. The objective of the invitation is not just to get people to show up, but to create the opportunity for them to be fully present and contribute their gifts.
- Know that everyone belongs and is needed and has come to contribute. When people who attend experience that their presence is truly wanted and valuable, and that their unique gift is necessary for the best outcome of the gathering, the possibility for authentic engagement, leading to success, is greatly enhanced.
- Listen to and evoke each other's stories with curiosity, wonder & attention.
- Set a strong context for the meeting. When people are optimally prepared for the form, function, and purpose of the gathering, they will be present in a way that greatly improves the chances of their purpose being actualized. Authentic engagement is more likely when we all have the same historical context or history of "how we've gotten to where we are."
- Suspend judgment, holding the space for difference, inviting and honoring all points of view while seeking common ground. When we authentically engage, we are not recycling old dialogue or behavior; we're tapping what is true for us now, at this moment.
- Listen for the unquestioned assumptions we all hold and make room for possibilities to emerge from the dark and hidden corners, gently bringing them into the light.
- Trust that what we are creating is a living system and not just a collection of ideas
- Our lives and the world can be transformed through essential conversations
Contact Jerry or Joe if you would like to discuss how the Meadowlark Institute can be of service to your organization, business or community.