Conversare – seeing and experiencing is believing

June 28, 2016 |  by  |  Uncategorized

Do you sense that people from any background coming  together at a hosted event to have a meal with a stranger in a place in which everyone treats each other with respect –  and everybody present participates fully –  is an idea whose time has come?

For just what this novel and enjoyable way of socialising looks like, with strong support for it from the management of a place where it is now well under way, see this brief documentary.

Interesting? Looks to be enjoyable? People having lively face to face (f2f)  conversations? Somewhat different from ‘insubstantial Facebook connectivity’? An adventure?

What about the place? Shown in the video and here, the Adelaide Central Market is  a most suitable venue for the purpose of enabling local residents to come along to participate in a Conversare event. And for others, wherever you are on our little planet, to appreciate the potential value of setting up something similar in your area.

A question you may pose, quite justifiably, is just what is this purpose? Why would anyone go to a social function in which they may not know anybody and then be invited to have a meal with a stranger?

A starting point is to be clear that the essence of these events is that everybody has an in depth encounter with at least one other fellow human being. Conversare is not like Meetup events in that there is no topic on which to focus. Nor it is to address complex issues

If you query this you would likely intuit that there are diverse possible answers.

Some can be heard in this recording of my conversation with Macca (Ian McNamara) in December 2015. He hosts a nationwide radio program called ‘Australia All Over’ on a Sunday morning and has been doing this for many years.

For more about reasons for why participating in this kind of gathering could meet different kinds of need. See:

Conversare – an answer to many people’s queries, wants and needs

Perhaps beyond satisfying personal needs which could be done in the context of participating in Conversare event – and having a highly enjoyable experience – there are other considerations which may resonate with you:

. Being reminded consciously of what conversation is. Are we usually aware of this in the course of our everyday living in contact with family, friends, colleagues, neighbours …

For when we do come to think about what it means to converse  we may appreciate the core components of careful listening, questioning and speaking  are vitally necessary to how well we connect with others – whoever they are . And that these elements of our interactions are skills which have to be learned and practised, consciously.

My book Time to converse – at the heart of human warmth covers what  conversation is and what a difference knowing and practising this can make in the lives of people – and that of those around them – who develop their skills as a conversationalist.

There are other features of ‘ways of being’ which can be noticed while participating in Conversare events.

To touch briefly on them here:

. The practice of ‘Mindfulness’.  There was a workshop held in my local library recently – free to the public – which was quickly fully subscribed. Which indicates that there is much interest in learning how to be fully present in situations we happen to be in.

For more on Mindfulness.

Conversare events may be considered as ideal contexts in which to put all considerations aside, particularly judgmental, to focus directly on your meal partner.

For when we do this we give that person our full attention.  You may have heard or seen this famous quote:

“Attention is the rarest and purist form of generosity.”
Simone Weil

What also has come to my notice recently which may interest you is the questions of ‘How is love manifest in everyday life and is this important to understand and practice?

See Conversare and rethinking love for the idea that we do well to love the person who is with us ‘in the moment’. In other words give that person your full attention in contexts in which we are treating each other well.

To add:

. I will be in London, UK, for most of the month of July, during which I will host  a Conversare Café convened by my friend David Gurteen , on 19 July.

. The opening dinner at the World Open Space on Open Space 24 (WOS) to be held in Manila, Philippines, in November this year will be conducted Conversare style.

The Conversare process is thoroughly grounded in my experience as a facilitator/host of  Open Space Technology, the World Café and the Art of Hosting

Do you see – even dimly – that there are opportunities for those of you who are passionate about these practices to extend your repertoire of offerings to include being a host of events which are purely to foster rich f2f encounters?.

Looking forward.

Go well


Alan Stewart, PhD
Facilitator of conversations that matter and participatory fun
Senior Fulbright Scholar
Blog: Conversare
Member: National Trouble Makers Union

Book: Time to converse – at the heart of human warmth  


‘Be prepared to be delighted’


1 Comment

  1. Well written piece of content Alan, was a pleasure to read. Have a safe and wonderful trip overseas as well, all the best.

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