What makes a good Conversation Starter?

The following requirements are what  help us to narrow the millions of podcasts, videos, and articles online today. Follow the guide to see what qualifies and to submit a resource.

Why is this important?

This is what Flipped Church is all about. Building up good neighbors who know how to love themselves & others.

Why is this important?

The conversation starter for an event should model the kind of communication you want to see in the community.

That means celebrating others instead of complaining. Complementing others instead of criticizing. Representing other people's ideas and beliefs with respect instead of straw-manning. etc. etc.

Hopefully you get what I'm pointing at here.

I've had to disqualify quite a few resources because the speaker felt the need to throw in a quick jab at some people group. It's quite disappointing when it happens. Most of these unkind comments are unnecessary and alienate people who might otherwise benefit from the message.

Feel free to email me if you need an example.

What does "leaving room for other opinions" look like?

Christina Costa models this well. When she was diagnosed with cancer she was encouraged to "fight," but did not find this narrative helpful. Her talk is largely about promoting an alternative narrative. And yet, she is careful to acknowledge that her experience is not universal.

I don't want to dismiss people who might find the fight narrative empowering... I do want to empower those that feel like me, that there's another way to go through whatever your journey may be.

Her talk qualifies as a conversation starter because she stays focused on what she is excited about and encourages her audience to draw their own conclusions. She is careful to celebrate others even when they see things differently.

Why this is important + a silly example.

The audiences' time is extremely valuable. An hour long presentation with a crowd of 5,000 people requires 5,000 life hours of collective attention and time. Presumably, those people are listening with some goal in mind and it's the responsibility of the speaker to focus on that goal.

Focusing takes effort (meaning people will eventually get tired) and holding onto lots of new information is difficult. A good conversation starter will end well before the audience's brains are tapped-out.

Need a counter example? Please enjoy this satirical podcast created in a collaboration between the podcasts Serial, 99 Percent Invisible, and Reply All.

Why is this important?
There are so many good and beautiful things worthy of our time.

I've spent time in the past focusing on what I was against. It wasn't very fun, I made other people's lives miserable, and didn't accomplish much. Because I was focused on tearing down I missed opportunities to create something better.

Now, I want to hear what people are excited about, what they're doing about it, and how I can help.

What are you excited about?

I already know we are destroying the oceans. Tell me why you love the whales so much, what you're doing to help them, and how I can help you.

I know young people are depressed. Tell me a story about the young people in your life, the program you are developing for them, and what you plan to do next.

Is it practical?

There needs to be something to do. A new habit. A new cause to invest in. A club to form etc.

If there's legitimately nothing I can do to help, then I don't need to know about it. There are more than enough issues in my sphere of influence that need my attention. So please forgive me for guarding that attention.

Who will benefit?

The resource should be focused on the people/places/things who will benefit. Example: Civil rights leaders had the choice to focus on destroying "unkind segregated spaces" or creating "shared integrated spaces." If they had succeeded in destroying segregated bathrooms there would be no place (for anyone) to pee. So instead they focused on creating integrated spaces that anyone and everyone could use.

What about the issues?

There are PLENTY of places on the internet, on the news, and in daily conversation to discuss what's going wrong. Which can be good, because there are real and important things that need to be talked about. Please, go talk about those things.

And then... when you're ready to submit a conversation starter for the Flipped Church community we will be ready to take your favorite solutions seriously.

3-5 words. What's the primary question, message, or take away?
What can listeners expect from this talk? Max 1-2 sentences.
This is the link would you send to an interested friend.
Who is the primary contributor in the resource?
Most conversation starters are between 5 - 19 minutes long.
Make sure the talk is less than 20 minutes.
What are of the resource do you want participants to focus in on?
Anything goes! Questions, clarifications, justifications, etc.
Tell us about your resource.

Submission time! Please take a few minutes to complete each input field to the left.

All inputs are required unless otherwise noted.

What questions do you think we should ask when people gather?
Format & Logistics

Ask questions that encourage people to share stories from their own lives.

Thank you SO much for submitting a resource.

Your submission have been received. You can expect a reply sometime in the next 14 days.  
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