1:1 Rural / Urban Conversation (1st Conversation)

Overview
Overview:  This is a self-directed conversation between two people who identify with rural/small-town or urban/suburban living places and want to better understand each other’s worlds.  It involves two one-hour structured conversations.

Design Rationale

1. The design emphasizes listening and learning.
2. Both people share and learn.  No one is teaching the other or defending their community.

Related Resources
Round 1 (~3 minutes)

Review the Technical Guidelines


While waiting for your partner to join, review these technical guidelines for a smooth conversation experience:
 
Stick together through the conversation rounds.
Complete each conversation round together. Each person then clicks "Proceed to Next Round" to advance. If need be, you can return to a previous round by clicking on it. 

You can drag and drop your own image anywhere on the page.
 
Keep an eye on the time.
The countdown timer helps you stay on track so that you use your time well. However, your pace for each section is up to you, and you can go over the hour if you both agree.    
 
Keep yourself muted when not speaking.
When you are not speaking, press your mute button to eliminate background noise and echo. When you are speaking, remember to unmute.
 
Keep your video on at all times.
If you are having bandwidth trouble, however, you can turn off your video to improve audio performance.
 
Having audio or video problems?
Try refreshing your browser - you'll come right back into the conversation. If this doesn't work, click "Need Help" for troubleshooting tips. 
 
We want to know if technology didn't work well for you in this conversation. 
Please send screenshots to connect@allsides.com.
 

Round 2 (~10 minutes)

Opening

After taking time to settle in and make sure the video and audio settings are working, one of the participants reads the goals and then the other reads the ground rules.
 
Goals
 
✔ More understanding of the experiences, feelings, and beliefs of someone who lives in a different part of the state or country
 
✔ Discovering any areas of commonality in addition to differences 
 
✔ Ideas for how we might make a difference for bridging rural/urban divides 
 
Ground Rules
 
1. We’re here to explain our views and to understand the other person, not to convince the other person to shift their attitudes or change their mind.  
 
2. We’re here as individuals.  Let’s not assume the other person holds the views of a larger group—unless they say they do.  
 
3. We’re going to stick to the process for each stage of the conversation.  Example: if the question is what we each learned about how the other person sees an issue, that’s all we do then even if it means resisting the urge to “correct” the other person’s obvious error or further explain our own viewpoint.    
 
4. We give each other permission to remind each other gently if we veer off from the process, as in “I think right now we’re supposed to be doing….”
 

Are we both on board with these goals and ground rules, and ready to go?

Copyright 2020 Braver Angels All Rights Reserved
Round 3 (~10 minutes)

Getting to Know Each Other

Question 1: Why did we each decide to participate in this conversation? 
Each person takes 1 minute

Afterwards, 2 minutes (here and elsewhere, feel free to use less time)

Did you see anything in common in why you are participating?

Suggestion: alternate who begins responding to each question from here on.
 
Question 2: Something about ourselves 
 
Share something about yourself such as where you live and for how long, family, and (if you like) a fun question:  What was your favorite meal as a child?  

Up to 2 minutes each 
Round 4 (~30 minutes)

Understanding Where We Each Live

Question 3: What do you value about living where you do?  What are the best parts of residing in your community and your part of your state?   
Only positives here. Consider telling a personal story to make your community come alive to the other person, and try to avoid negative comparisons with other places (as in, “I could never live in a dangerous city or in a small town with too little to do”). 
 
Each goes in turn. (Up to 4 minutes each) No interruptions or cross talk.
Afterwards, back and forth conversation:  

What did you learn about how the other person sees the positives of living where they do, and do you see anything in common?    

4 minutes total
 
Question 4:  What is difficult or challenging for you about living where you do?  What are the downsides?   
 
2 minutes for each person.  No cross talk.

Afterwards, back and forth for 2 minutes on this question: 

What did you learn about the other person’s experience of the hard parts of living where they do, and do you see anything in common?
 
Question 5:   One of the reasons for these rural/urban conversations is that people often have stereotypes of those who live in different places.  In your view, what are the main misconceptions or misunderstandings that people have about where you live?  What images of your community would you like to correct or set straight? 
 
2 minutes for each person.  No cross talk

Afterwards, back and forth for 2 minutes on this question: 

What did you learn about how the other person sees their community being misunderstood by others, and do you see anything in common?

Round 5 (~5 minutes)

Check Out

How do we each feel about the conversation we’ve just had?

Do we both want to go forward with the second conversation? 
 
Schedule the second conversation