On Sunday evening I was supposed to go to a team learning workshop but instead attended, totally unintentional on my part, the “Building the Conference Community” session, presented by two very creative and friendly people, David Isaacs and Nancy Margulies.
Nancy created graphical representations of whatever was happening in the session. You can see some of her drawings here. David, much like a wise elder, used the energy in the room to guide and engage us in meaningful conversation. David and Nancy created such an atmosphere of camaraderie and “safe psychological space” (more on that later) that it was easy to divulge your greatest hopes and aspirations. It may sound schmaltzy to say that I openly and honestly told several strangers (we moved every 12 minutes to talk to another group of people at different tables), right off the bat, my almost complete ignorance of what this conference is about, what I wish to get out of it, and what I hope to offer my organization after it’s over—all without sounding trite or superficial. And then I listened to what the other participants at the other tables were experiencing, and their hopes and their expectations.
It was such an engaging activity that before long we were having meaningful dialog, saying the things that are most important to us: we want to be better individuals, we want to be agents of positive change in our lives and our environments, and we want to amplify our impact for positive growth. So that’s the “Ding!” part when I realized why the theme of this conference relies so much on the power of relationship: it’s because we’re wired for it. So why not build on that human quality to connect and engage, and let those be the buildings blocks to create positive change? What have you got to lose?