Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Justice Talking

You want a powerful tool to help your co-workers reflect on numerous topics related to civic duty and humanitarian obligations? Maybe you are part of an organization that has a hard time communicating? Maybe you are a boss who sees a need to give your staff a place and time to reflect? Maybe you are part of a staff that sees a need to bring your management into the conversation?

Justice Talking is a conversational tool that can provide your group a comfortable environment for open discussion.

This Monday and Tuesday I attend Justice Talking Training sponsored by the Ohio Humanities Council. It was inspirational.

During training it was difficult to understand the true power of Justice Talking, but now after a day of reflection... I see the greatness it enables.

One reason I like blogging and conversation over the Internet is text. I have a frank way of speaking, without interruptions, without a need to hesitate, and with only minimal guidelines. All of the social discomfort that I can sometimes experience in a group washes away.

Justice Talking provides a format for us to talk with the same feeling of openness and comfort as the Internet has allowed socially awkward folks like myself.

Yes, I know, no one ever believes me when I tell them that I have social phobia. People always say how I am outgoing and friendly. Well, being outgoing is difficult even for me. I still wonder what others think of me, and feel that tension when I am fearful of speaking.

Justice Talking uses literature, picked by topic and theme, as a guide for verbal reflection. It is kind of like art therapy, how a counselor can use a clients artwork as a place to start conversation and personal insight.
Except, thoughtful and neutral literature is used as this starting place.

A group member is the appointed "chief", or as Justice Talk-speak calls it-- a facilitator.

The facilitator creates a meaningful beginning and ending for the conversation. An icebreaker to get the conversation flowing, and an ending spot for thoughtful reflections after the group disperses.
They also draft open-ended questions to keep the conversation going, if the members run low on thoughts or discussion points. The facilitator isn't the dictator, they keep quiet, and allow the group to lead.

There shouldn't be an agenda just a starting point.

It was great to have the opportunity to train with an awesome group. They gave me so much over the two days. It was also wonderful to have the challenge to co-facilitate a reading.

I am more than happy to offer what I learned to anyone interested.

Below is a link that can provide you with some resources:

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