Hosting a hub meeting
How you want to host your event is entirely up to you. In this section, we present some ideas, methods and tips, for your inspiration.
Setting up the room
Depending on the number of participants and the available space, there are 2 set-ups that help to invite a deep quality of conversation and listening into the group:
a circle (of chairs or pillows)
cabaret style (small tables with about 5 chairs each)
How to design the process
- Start with describing the intention(s) of the gathering, and use that as a guide for designing the process.
- Be prepared to be surprised:
- Don't plan too tight, leave some space for conversation and emergence.
- Prepare & plan well and then be prepared to let go of your plan.
- Think about the flow of the gathering: if you use different steps/methods, potentially even facilitated by different people: How do they connect? How does one piece lead into the next? Explain how every step fits into the process (what is the intention, what is the outcome...)
Like every story, a gathering has a beginning, a middle and an end.
Here are some patterns that you might want to integrate. We know from experience that this enhances the quality of the process.
Who are your hosts?
What is the intention of today? What is the agenda?
Check-in: The intention of a check-in is to bring everyone's attention and intention into the room and to the purpose of the meeting. It allows people to arrive and leave behind what happened before (traffic, stress, and so on).
- It helps to use a 'guiding question' for the check-in to deepen the place where people speak from. "How do you arrive today?", "What has changed for you since we last met?", "What is your intention for today?"
- In a small group, you can sit in circle and invite every participant to speak. In large group, you can invite them to check-in in groups of 3 or 5 and then speak one sentence in the whole group.
You may want to loosely structure your timebased on:
- watching the live session
- what surprised me? what was most interesting?
- how is this valuable for my life/work?
- how is this relevant for our local community and the challenges/aspirations we have?
– perhaps a mix of dialogue in small groups, plenary conversation, individual reflective journaling and/or mindfulness practice;
Whatever the process of the meeting is, make sure that there is a moment to close together. Ingredients:
- Check-out: a practice that aims at sharing individual and collective learning. Create a moment where every or some of the participants can speak their insights/impression of the meeting, or their next steps.
- Some news and updates
- Next steps
(see Tools and Methods for more info)
Creating a safe space:
- Cultivate an atmosphere of non-judgment and curiosity: Each person's experience & exploration is valid.
- Build trust and confidence: make an agreement in the first session to respect confidentiality, so that people can safely engage with the learning environment.
- Encourage co-ownership, for people to feel responsible for the space, and for their own learning experience. This might include sharing practical tasks, such as setting up the room or providing refreshments, as well as ensuring that you don't find yourself unwittingly responsible for fulfilling every unmet need or being seen as the hub's 'teacher'.
- Live sessions: When you want to watch the live session together, we strongly advise to do a technology-check before the session starts: Does the projector work? Is the computer well connected? Does the Wifi work? It is also good to think about a plan B. Just in case something unexpectedly breaks down. A plan B will help you to not stress too much, put technology aside, and step into a dialogue/process with the hub participants.
- A bell: It can be helpful to bring a 'sound maker', like a bell or chimes. It helps to bring the attention of people back to the larger group when they are engaged in small group dialogue.
- Timekeeping: Assign one member of the team to do timekeeping.
- Informal conversation: Some hubs open their doors 30 minutes before the meetings and invite people to bring some snacks/drinks. It allows for some informal social time to connect and to get to know each other better/in a different way. You can also create that opportunity after the meeting.