Get Involved

Posts about things YOU can get involved in or contribute to. We welcome and appreciate your involvement!

Free Conversation Café and Host Training on October 2nd    

We’re holding a free Conversation Café and host training the night before the conference begins, open to conference participants and anyone else in Austin that wants to join us. If you’re in Austin or know people who are, please send them a link to this post, or give them this Conversation Cafe flyer.

Are you curious to learn how ‘the other guys’ are thinking?  Have you wondered how to talk to others who hold very different points of view?  Come experience a FREE Conversation Café at the Renaissance Austin Hotel (Ballroom B) on October 2, 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. when we will explore the theme of learning from differences.

Conversation Café is a simple but powerful process that fosters fascinating and lively conversation with a diverse group. It offers an easy-to-use format that helps people feel at ease, speak with sincerity and listen with respect. The result is a shift from small talk to “big talk” about questions that matter.

You can also learn how to be a conversation host by attending the FREE workshop from 6:15-7:30 p.m. offered by Conversation Café co-founder Susan Partnow. You will be joined by others from around the U.S. (and a dozen other countries!) attending the National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation.

You’ll have fun, get inspired and leave with an empowering tool that can help you create more satisfying and meaningful conversations in your community, workplace, neighborhood or just at your kitchen table. Be sure to invite your friends, family and co-workers to join you for this special event!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

FREE Workshop for Volunteer Hosts
6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

FREE Public Conversation Café (ages 16 and up)
7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Renaissance Austin Hotel
9721 Arboretum Boulevard, Austin
Ballroom B

For more about Conversation Café go to You are also encouraged to review the Volunteer Host training guide at

Books by Conference Attendees for the Bookstore?    

I wanted to give all conference attendees the chance to recommend books we should include in the NCDD 2008 conference bookstore. I already provided the folks organizing our bookstore with a list of suggestions, but I’m sure I’ve missed some books you guys would recommend we include. I’m especially interested in books YOU folks (conference attendees) have published recently.

Phil Neisser, who will be joining us in Austin, just sent a message out to the NCDD discussion list about his new book, United We Fall, which posits that ordinary political conversations, neighborhood encounters, and public debates need to include the “extreme” points of view that are often hidden on the sidelines, considered to be too “radical,” or dismissed as the work of “the enemy.” It sounds like a great book, and I think we should have it at the conference bookstore if possible.

Phil’s message made me think our conference presenters and attendees have probably written a bunch of other books we should consider for the bookstore.

Now, I can’t guarantee that your book will end up being sold, but local planning team member Sherry Lowry will certainly ask the bookstore folks to consider it. So please use the comment field below to submit your suggestions. Include the title, author, year published, and publisher if possible.

I’d like to have any additional book suggestions submitted to the bookstore folks by Friday, August 29th at the latest, so don’t delay!

New Outreach Pieces for NCDD Austin    

Here are some great new outreach pieces that members of our Central Texas Team created recently. Please use them to tell your networks and colleagues about NCDD Austin! There is a piece geared towards general audiences, and one geared towards practitioners.

Please also feel free to send people – as an attachment or link – the one-page flyer that’s up at (more…)

Suggest a Topic for Friday’s Networking Session    

You’re coming to the conference, in large part, to meet people who share your interests. At NCDD conferences, people tend to leave knowing that they’ve built a slew of new supportive, collaborative relationships.

To help this along at NCDD Austin, we’re holding a structured networking session during the very first plenary session of the conference. This networking session will allow participants, right off the bat, to meet people with similar interests as them. Maybe you’re passionate about a particular issue, like climate change, racism or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Perhaps you focus on a specific area of D&D work like restorative justice or deliberative democracy. Maybe you’d like to meet other researchers who are at the conference, other college students, or others from outside the U.S.? This networking session will give you the chance to meet others like you.

But like everything we do at NCDD, this will work best if you’re involved. If you are passionate about a topic, process, etc. and you’d like to meet others who feel the same, or you’d like to meet others in the same circumstance as you, please submit that topic for consideration.

All conference participants are invited to suggest topics for this networking session – whether or not you are willing to serve as the “table host” for that topic and move the conversation forward with some light facilitation. The point of this session is networking – meeting and starting to get to know others who share your interests, so hosts will ensure people have the chance to introduce themselves and share how their work relates to the topic.

One suggestion:  focus broadly, like the topics suggested above (“using D&D to address climate change” rather than “using D&D to encourage high school students to recycle”).

Complete this form to suggest topics and/or offer to serve as a table host. And visit to see the topics people have submitted so far.

Announcing the “D&D Marketplace”    

Friday, October 3rd, 4:00-5:30 pm

We’ve decided to try something new on the first day of this year’s conference, before the reception – a D&D Marketplace.  We’re really excited about this session, and the associated posters, because we think they provide a way for people to expose their work and their ideas to the majority of conference participants. Here’s how this high-energy session will work…

Conference planners will select people to present during the D&D Marketplace who are passionate about sharing tools, concepts, and success stories. These presenters will strike up conversations with participants who are strolling around the room, perusing the wares. No timers or buzzers are involved.

Presenters may choose to display “posters” during the Marketplace (more on this below), and they will be expected to provide handouts for participants and to be able to succinctly express what’s important for conference participants to know about their resource, method, research, case study, program, etc. and to elaborate and answer any questions people may have.

During the D&D Marketplace, most of the tables will be removed from the ballroom so people have room to move about.  Marketplace presenters will be stationed throughout the room, standing at a cafe-sized table where they can display information and handouts. We will provide every Marketplace presenter with a sign with their topic on it. For those Marketplace presenters who prepare posters, we will also provide tabletop easels if you need them.

During this 90-minute session, conference participants will stroll around the ballroom, looking over posters, picking up resources, and talking with Marketplace presenters – people who want to tell others about a particular tool, concept or case they’re excited about.

About the Posters…

D&D Marketplace presenters are invited to also prepare posters, which will be displayed at their Marketplace table and then moved to a prominent location in or near the main ballroom for the rest of the three-day conference. To display your poster, you can choose to do one of three things:

  1. Purchase a tri-fold foam display board like the one here at Staples for $15 and prepare your poster in advance of the conference on the display board. You’ll need to bring the board or ship it to yourself at the hotel so it arrives no later than the morning of October 3rd. These display boards are 36″ tall by 48″ wide.
  2. Prepare your poster on posterboard (standard size is 22”x 28”) and bring that with you to the conference. We will provide you with a tabletop easel, but make sure Logistics Coordinator Polly Riddims knows that you will need it ([email protected]).
  3. Prepare the elements of your poster (large titles, graphs, pictures, text, etc.) and bring them with you to the conference – or bring a rolled up completed poster. We will provide a tabletop easel and 22″ x 28″ posterboard for you to paste your elements onto, but you will need to let Polly know you will need those things ([email protected]).

After the D&D Marketplace, your easel or display board will be placed on a table where you can (and should) also leave handouts, resources and business cards for people to pick up. You may choose to also stand at your poster during high-traffic times such as during breaks and answer questions about your poster.

Posters are a great way to introduce a large percentage of conference participants to your work or your idea. A workshop about a method, resource or program people aren’t familiar with may attract only a few people, while a poster on something new and innovative is likely to be seen by the majority of attendees. Posters are also a great way for those without strong English skills or much presenting experience to share their work in a more comfortable setting.

Your poster may consist of one large sheet of paper, or you can tack up multiple sheets of smaller paper. Your poster should take people through a process, program, concept or story. The type is large and wording is simple, and diagrams and pictures bring the poster to life. People should be able to quickly discern your message and determine whether they need to read more or move on. Although you will be able to walk people through the story/process/concept depicted on your poster during the marketplace and perhaps at other times as well, the poster should be able to clearly present the concept on its own. Your poster should NOT consist mainly of pasted-up pages of small type!

Up to three co-authors can be named for each poster, and up to three people may present the poster during the D&D Marketplace. Everyone presenting a poster must register for the conference.

Are you presenting in the Marketplace?  Here’s what you’ll need to prepare…

  • A quick spiel or “elevator speech” about your case, program, tool, etc. that will get people interested in learning more. Practice it until it comes out naturally!  We suggest you prepare several spiels of different lengths (30 seconds, 1 minute, etc.).
  • Handouts about your program, tool, case, event, etc. that include further details.  Include your contact information and web address on your handouts, or also provide a stack of your business cards.
  • And if you are presenting a poster, you will need to prepare a visually interesting poster.  See specs and suggestions for posters above.

Networking Topics for Opening Session    

Table topics during our Opening Session at NCDD Austin will allow you to meet others who share your interests and affinities right off the bat. We’ve been asking conference participants to submit “networking topics” if they are passionate about a topic, process, venue, etc. and they’d like to meet others who feel the same.

Below are the topics we’re going forward with so far (and the people who submitted them and will be hosting the tables) and some more details about what we’ll be doing and why. Send a quick email to NCDD Director Sandy Heierbacher at [email protected] if you’d like to host a table on a particular topic!

You’re coming to the conference, in large part, to meet people who share your interests. At NCDD conferences, people tend to leave knowing that they’ve built a slew of new supportive, collaborative relationships.

To help this along at NCDD Austin, we’re holding a structured networking session during the very first plenary session of the conference. This networking session will allow participants, at the start of the conference, to meet people with similar interests as them. Maybe you’re passionate about a particular issue, like climate change, racism or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Perhaps you focus on a specific area of D&D work like restorative justice or deliberative democracy. Maybe you’d like to meet other researchers who are at the conference, other college students, others from outside the U.S., or others who teach at universities? This networking session will give you the chance to meet people during the opening session who you can connect with again and again over the next few days.

All conference participants are invited to suggest topics — especially if you are willing to serve as the “table host” for that topic and move the conversation forward with some light facilitation. The point of this session is networking – meeting and starting to get to know others who share your interests, so hosts will ensure people have the chance to introduce themselves and share how their work relates to the topic.

There won’t be time for in-depth conversations about the topic; this is about meeting people you can connect with again later on.  So focus broadly, like the topics suggested above (”using D&D to address climate change” rather than “using D&D to encourage high school students to recycle”).

Here are the topics we’ve got so far…

Rooting D&D in Government Structures

Submitted by: John Spady (willing to host)

Dialogue across the Partisan Divide

Table host: Jacob Hess

Encouraging Dialogue in Higher Ed

Encouraging the values and processes of dialogue within the academy, including pedagogy, student life, administrative and faculty culture — it’s challenges and its possibilities. (We are have been doing this at Clark University over the last three years, initially with support from the Ford Foundation’s Difficult Dialogues initiative.)

Table host: Sarah Buie

Bridging the Sacred/Secular Divide

Many social change efforts could benefit from alliances between secular and faith-based networks. Effective alliances are often prevented or hampered by lack of contact or mutual stereotyping. In some secular contexts people “of faith” have felt have felt marginalized and “trashed”. The converse is also true. In some religious contexts, people who have a secular world view have felt silenced and dismissed.

I am interested to brainstorm with people who have participated in efforts to bridge this difference as well as people who would like to convene such conversations in the future.

Table host: Laura Chasin

Dialogue on Structural Racism

I work with a number of community based programs in Baltimore and we struggle with the structural racism that exists in education, foundation giving, prison system, etc. and how it plays out as we work together in unity for change. We continue to strive to dialogue about racial disparities in these systems while promoting change. I would like to meet others who work in the community who face these issues and want to find tools and opportunities to having honest, truthful dialogue about race and class.

Table host: Polly Riddims

D&D on Environmental / Land Use Issues

Table host: Steve Zikman

Public Health

I am consulting with some senior leaders in the field of public health. It is my hope that I can connect with others who are also focused in this area.

 Table host: Robert Corman

Using the Arts in Dialogue

As a graphic recorder/facilitator I’m always asking myself how I can most effectively use visuals to assist & enhance the dialogue process. And my interest goes beyond the visual arts – I also see the value and impact of theatre, song, movement, poetry and so on. Would love to connect with others who are also exploring the role of the arts in dialogue, to swap stories, questions, ideas, and maybe try out some stuff together!

Table host: Avril Orloff

Building State Networks to Support Deliberation

We have a statewide network in Oklahoma that we are trying to expand and we’d like to brainstorm with others to find out what they have tried in their states.  We are also thinking of creating a business plan for our state network and would like to discuss this with others as well to see if they have tried something similar.

Table host: Kimberly Williams and Renee Daugherty

Online Facilitation / Deliberation Tools

Table host: Tom Murray

Applying Adult Developmental Psychology to D&D

Table host: Jan Inglis

Critical Social Theory and Dialogue

You love to read Foucault, Habermas, Kristeva, Butler, Adorno, Gadamer, Deleuze & Guattari … but don’t have anybody to talk to about their work? Here’s the chance. Basically, we’re interested in exploring how critical theory can inform dialogue practice more fully.

Table host: Tod Sloan

Gender / Gender Identity and Dialogue

This topic refers to the complexity and tension around roles and power sharing in business and personal life and the leadership demands for a sustainable planet in the 21st century. This topic potentially runs the gamut of processes for gender reconciliation (most commonly related to instances/places of extreme women’s oppression) to processes that address the “undiscussibles” of mate selection and expectations in romantic/sexual relationships.

Table host: Steven Fearing

Conversation Cafes

Table host: Tobin Quereau

Online Dialogue

Table host: Ken Bausch

Embodied Dialogue and Aikido

Embodied dialogue is a term I am experimenting with, and refers (in my thinking, at this time) to the integration of the basic princples and practices of Aikido into deep listening and clear speaking. I have been training in Aikido for six years.

Table host: Laurie McCann

Social Media and D&D

What are all these people talking about online? How are people engaged in dialog and deliberation using social media? What are the big trends?

Table host: Chris Heuer

Intergenerational Dialogue at Work

We have seen the Art of Dialogue used effectively within a social justice context, and we believe we are missing an enormous opportunity to change the quality of people’s lives where they spend most of their time – at work. Whether a for profit coporation, non profit or government organization, dialogue offers employers and employees the chance to create and sustain positive work relationships. Baby Boomers, Generations “X,”, “Y,” and upcoming “Z” need to work together effectively in teams and in one-on-one relationships. We are interested in gathering a table from different generations to explore this exciting topic.

Table co-hosts: Paul Weismn and Michele Simos-Weisman

Assessing the Impact of Race Dialogues

I would like to host a table to bring together others interested in doing research to show the impact on a community of dialogue about race relations.  The opportunities for funding such dialogues are great, but we need to show that we are making an impact.  I am not a researcher, but would love to hear from those who have the research knowledge and skills how they have approached this problem.

Table host:  Kathryn Liss

Capturing Knowledge

Table host:  Kevin Leahy

Int’l Association of Facilitators Members

Table host:  Linda Mather

Interfaith Dialogue with Traditionalists

Table host:  Imam Abubakar Abdul

DIY D&D for the Masses

There simply aren’t enough practitioners nor large enough budgets to create initiatives to help citizens and communities address all of the issues they face. How can we scale the role of D&D in society by putting tools and best practices directly in the hands of citizen stakeholders.

Table host: Brian Sullivan

Building Community by Networking Neighbors

Table host: Cheryl Honey

Email Templates for Publicizing the 2008 Conference    

Below are a bunch of different email “templates” you can use to help get the word out about the conference. Just pick the one that works best for the person, group, listserv, etc. you’re reaching out to, copy it (control-C or apple-C) and paste it into your email program (control-V or apple-V).

If your email program allows it, feel free to also paste the pictures at the bottom of the page into your message. And certainly use one of these pictures and/or the NCDD logo in blog posts, e-newsletters, print newsletters, etc.

Also – a bunch of other ideas for getting the word out about the conference, like distributing postcards and Moo cards, are posted at And a banner and two smaller images for the conference are posted at

Thoughts on Technology from Taylor Willingham    


A few thoughts and insights on how technology can knit us together leading up to, during and after the conference…

1. Standard tagging: Through standard tagging, we can easily see each other’s content uploaded on Flickr, Blogs and elsewhere. For example, last August a Texas Forums co-hosted an event with the League of Technical Voters called We Are All Actors. People took photos that they uploaded to their own site on Flick and they wrote blogs. But no matter where they posted content, they tagged it WAAA2007. So on Flickr, you can see everyone’s photos at: You could do the same for blogs if you tag them with Technorati tags.

2. Real time feedback: Twitter was used heavily at SXSW Interactive here in Austin to give real time feedback during sessions. I was there with a couple of colleagues and was able to see what they were doing and what they thought about the presentations they were attending. If I was in a session that wasn’t working for me, I could easily vote with my feet and go where something cool was happening. (OK presenters may not like that, but we DO want to make sure everyone gets what they want from the conference, right?) Also, you can get instant answers to questions. For example, I recently wondered (twittered, actually) about the difference between and within less than five minutes, I had two responses. I use twitterific so I get messages on my desktop as soon as the come in. (This is also one way I get good recipes, consumer guidance, referrals, etc.)

3. Drive traffic to blogs. I follow a very prolific blogger who writes for several blogs and a podcaster. Through the magic of microblogging (that’s what Twitter really is) I get one sentence from them along with a “tinyurl” If I’m too busy, then I can save it as a favorite.

For example:

Tom Parish tparish Posted my podcast with Dr. Nicolas Horney on “In Search of IT Agility” at

4. Lots of people prefer the microblogging of twitter. (See: Below is snapshot of Twitterific and posting by David Cohn – someone I’ve never met, but who found me and found that we share similar interests.

5. You can send direct messages to people through twitter – much easier than e-mail AND it doesn’t clutter things up. You might think that being limited to 140 characters is a bad thing. OH NO! It’s a VERY good thing. Twitter combines the best of e-mail and instant messaging. If people don’t have computers or can’t afford the wireless (it’s not free at the Renaissance, is it?) they can still participate with their phones – there will be plenty of people with computers on hand to sign them up.

6. Spontaneous meetings. Many of the geeks I hang out with in Austin (and elsewhere) don’t make appointments. They go to a coffee shop or bar, Twitter their location and people spontaneously show up. That’s how we all found each other at SXSW. Imagine you’ve just come from a stimulating session and want to keep talking about what you learned. You post a twitter with the topic and your location and people can join you. Think “Technologically facilitated Open Space”.

7. Mobile technology: Twitter works with cell phones – both receiving and sending. No need to be online.

8. Instant updates of changes: A speaker gets sick? You’re in a room that you thought would have a flip chart, but it doesn’t? Post a notice. “Workshop A canceled.” or “Any flip charts not being used? I could use one in Serenade Room” Response: “not using the one in Serendipity Room. Sending it over to you.” Everyone tied into Twitter is empowered to contribute to the conference.

So the real power isn’t in how many people are following you, but in how many people are connected and ABLE to connect with Twitter! I knew about the NCDD twitter NOT from this e-mail, but because Tim Bonnemann twittered that he had just joined. I joined immediately, then I got this e-mail. But it took me 24 hours to respond and now I have to make a decision about where to file it! E-mail and RSS feeds are just too cumbersome any more.

Find similar posts: Fun Stuff, Get Involved, NCDD2008

How Can We Address the Major Challenges Facing our Field?    

For the next couple of months, members of the 2008 conference planning team and members of the greater dialogue and deliberation community are coming together at to conduct an important experiment. We will be working together, using an online platform for dialogue, deliberation, and action planning, to determine how we can make progress on seven major challenges facing our community.

The seven challenges we’d like to address emerged from the first three NCDD conferences, and it is our hope that we will tackle these challenges in creative, collaborative ways – at, before, and after the fourth NCDD conference in Austin this October. The challenges focus on questions we face as a community, like “how can we talk about this work in a more accessible way?” and “how can we embed dialogue and deliberation in systems like schools, organizations and government?” Our online dialogue at CivicEvolution will help us decide how to best approach this daunting task, and we hope to see you there!

We will work together in three stages:

  1. Review and refine the 7 challenges and launch numerous new dialogues to further explore elements of each challenge. (Example: Ted initiates a new dialogue focused on what words and phrases appeal to young people under the “Framing this Work in an Accessible Way” challenge.)
  2. Participate in these new dialogues to explore the challenges in depth and develop common ground upon which we can propose ideas that can be further developed and incorporated into an action plan. (Example: After some online dialogue about language that is accessible to young people, Ted and Nancy decide to propose the idea to recruit 50 young people to attend NCDD Austin and engage them in dialogues and discussions on language throughout the conference.)
  3. Work together as teams to develop detailed proposals for accomplishing the team ideas. (Example: Ted, Nancy, and several others decide on the steps it will take to move from their idea to action.)

Below are more details about the three stages and some how-to info you can refer to as needed. (more…)

Planning Team Chats with Campfire    

Campfire Logo

We have chosen the online group chat system, Campfire, from the web development company 37 Signals, as our tool of choice for group chats during the planning process. Its a very user friendly and easy to use web tool that will allow us to quickly set-up chats to deal with projects. Also, its “live” all the time, so planning team members can use it whenever they wish to run their own chats. As we get closer to the conference, we will be adding other NCDD members and conference participants to the chat rolls, so we hope to see some interesting discussions develop. Currently, we’re limited to 25 users at a time, but we will expand the user limit when we find that we need it.

Members of the 2008 Planning Team should have received an email with the subject: Campfire chat invitation from Andrew Fluke. If you are a planning team member and want to participate, just follow the link in the email you received and you will be all set.

Find similar posts: Get Involved, NCDD2008, Planning Team

© 2003-2010 National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation.
Learn more about us or explore this site.