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6 Steps for Introducing The Conversation Project to Your Community

Posted on 04/06/2021

Organizing an event, in-person or virtual, with The Conversation Project (TCP) resources is a great way to help people in your community talk about their wishes for care through the end of life. An event can help you spread your mission and raise awareness of any services you may have for your community. There’s no right or wrong audience for these events — we’ve seen successful events of every size, scope, and timeframe. And, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Follow these steps and dive into our suggested resources below to get started.

BEFORE THE EVENT

  • Orient yourself to TCP resources:

Before planning your agenda, review and think about how you want to use TCP resources. You might provide copies of (or links to) the Conversation Starter Guides for people to use after the event, reference the Guides in passing, or perhaps host a full workshop centered on the Conversation Starter Guide. The below resources will help you get oriented to this type of workshop.

Through experience with hundreds of events over the years, we know “Conversation Starter Workshops,” either in-person or virtual, are a great way to introduce TCP to your community.  These sessions start with a quick introduction to your local efforts and framing for your audience (e.g., a community, faith, educational, healthcare or other employee group). Participants then take a deep dive into TCP’s flagship resource, the Conversation Starter Guide. They are given time to reflect, fill out the guide, and share or reflect in small groups. Sharing can be done at with a neighbor at their seat during in-person events, or in virtual breakout rooms or via the chat feature during virtual events. This activity is a starting point intended to prompt post-workshop action to have the conversation with those who matter most to the individuals in your audience (family members, a friend, faith leader, health care team member, etc.).

  • Plan it out:

The time you have for the event will dictate how deeply you can delve into the Conversation Starter Guides. Below are two suggested agenda templates and timing recommendations for facilitating conversations using our Guide.

We recommend following our Presentation Checklist of all the things to consider before, during, and after an event.

Only have 15 minutes? No problem. You can still provide an overview of TCP and the Conversation Starter Guide with links to our website and resources to whet someone’s appetite!

Be sure to choose a time and location that’s accessible to those you are hoping to reach. Additional tips can be found in our recorded speaker trainer session.

  • Publicize it:

Don’t forget to promote your event ahead of time and invite participants in (via newsletters, community bulletins, Nextdoor, Facebook or other pre-existing groups, organizational listservs, local papers, etc.). Below are two sample resources you can adapt.

DURING THE EVENT

  • Present or facilitate:

We have a customizable TCP Standard Slide Deck that you can adapt and use as you wish. Each slide contains notes on key points, helpful tips and/or a suggested script to follow.

Consider adding TCP videos to your presentation if your platform/location allows. It’s a great alternative learning technique.

You don’t need to use PowerPoints or visuals. Sometimes it’s better to make it a conversational event.

  • Prompt action:

We highly encourage you to bring printed Conversation Starter Guides or share the link with virtual attendees at or before the event. You can download the PDF and print yourself (or at a local printer) or purchase professionally printed copies via our Online Marketplace. The marketplace includes option to co-brand, print in black and white (at a lower cost), and order additional languages.

We also have the following take-home resources to help prompt action at the end of an event.

    • When the Lights Go Up: a one-page action guide to share after a presentation
    • Commitment Cards: cards to hand out at the end of your event encouraging individuals to commit to having the conversation.
  • Evaluate:

It’s always helps to get feedback from your participants at the end of an event (before they sign-off or leave) to see what worked and how you can improve. Feel free to use our sample evaluation form in English or Spanish.

TIP: Consider offering this workshop in a two-part session. The second session can serve as a debrief and another way to evaluate how your audience’s real-life conversations went after the first session, encouraging action between sessions.

GOING DEEPER

Are you looking to train and organize additional community members to help spread the word? Feel free to use and adapt our sample agenda to host a longer community organizing event and a sample invitation to a train-the-trainer session.

For additional resources (including more on promoting your message) and support, check out our community resources page as well as our faith and health care pages.

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