I’ve done two conversations towards #agoodquestion so far, but I’ve already learnt a lot. Here are some practical tips to self.
Finding people to ask is the hardest thing. You can feel torn between wanting to go far beyond your usual networks of like-minded people but also scared of making that approach. But there are some easier approaches. Think about people in your extended family or old friends you haven’t seen in a long while. Ask people you know if they know someone they could introduce you. Or be ready for an opportunity to present itself.
People don’t actually need to be very different from you politically. You’ll home in on the differences that are most interesting to you both in the course of the conversation.
I’ve asked people so far by saying I’ve taken on a challenge towards having a better quality of conversation about politics, with someone who might be a little bit different politically. That the differences are positive. And that it’s not about trying to win an argument but rather trying to find questions that we both agree are good questions, and those are the only ones we have to answer.
I think it’s really important to make clear it’s a thing – a challenge, a project, a whatchamacallit – which gives you both permission to do this.
In both conversations I’ve had so far, we’ve spent most time just talking about where we’re coming from politically, and then finishing off by picking a good question to ask each other. Rather than the tennis match of questions I was expecting. But I think I have most enjoyed the feeling that we’re in this conversation together.
I think that if a conversation is shared online, the basics are to distinguish people’s politics in a nutshell and then the good questions that were asked. You can do that in 3 lines, literally. Anything else is a bonus. Don’t be put off by my lengthy diaries. That’s just me.
I’m bloody hopeless at making websites. I have had the url for ages and been struggling with a virtual server to get wordpress installed. I will get it done soon, and then the rest of the online infrastructure for sharing. That has hampered me getting more people involved.
I am now aiming to have 12 conversations before the election, and I will get bolder. I’m going to invite more people directly to take part. And I am contemplating a live event to gather people to do it together.