We started The Policy Circle with a few women who wanted to learn more about policy and to become more engaged in the public policy dialogue meeting in someone’s living room. We formed our first “Circle.” And within four years of launching, we have grown to 296 circles in 40 states, with more than 3,500 members nationwide. Wow!
We are thankful for:
- Incredible members who are adding powerful voices to The Policy Circle’s growing community every day.
- Circle Leaders who have given amazing women in their communities and workplace the opportunity to focus and strengthen their voices.
- Connectors and Partners who have introduced The Policy Circle to their networks, collaborated with us to prepare The Policy Circle briefs and invited Policy Circle members to engage in their initiatives.
- Supporters who share their treasures so The Policy Circle can be a member supported organization with the technology and expertise to develop the Policy Circle briefs, onboard new circles and organize amazing learning events.
You have helped bring about our success this year. And with Thanksgiving and the winter holidays right around the corner, families are preparing to gather around the dinner table to give thanks over food and conversation. if, between turkey and pie, you decide to engage in intentional discussions on policy or politics take a page from The Policy Circle way: One of the workshops at The Policy Circle Leadership Summit was on Facilitating Complex Discussions, here are the Four Pillars of Civil Discourse (inspired from a great guide titled How to Have Impossible Conversations) :
- Model the desired behavior – if you want people to yell then yell. If you want your conversation partner to laugh then be light hearted.
- Resist making assumptions – stop yourself from assuming what people think or how they judge and view the world, you may be surprised. Resist assuming that you and your conversation partner(s) have the same definition of morally charged words.
- Resist being the messenger of one message – drop the megaphone to proclaim one idea. You won’t change anyone’s mind, the best you can do is instill doubt, so simply enter the conversation with seeking to understand.
- Ask questions. Preferably What, and How questions that are open ended.
The trick is what questions to ask? In the workshop we proposed a series of tracks or buckets of questions such as:
- What is the vision, the goals? What problem are we trying to solve and what data are we using?
- What are your “lens of care” about this issue?
- What are the value and emotions at play?
- What are the roles of individuals and community members?
- What is the impact of current and future technology/infrastructure?
- What needle are we moving? What does success look like, how do we measure success? What happens if it fails?
- What are the costs of development, implementation and support of a solution?
Finally, keep in mind that people want to feel heard before they can change their mind. Healthcare will be a big topic heading into the new year, it may be a good topic to discuss with your circle (here’s the brief)
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families! We are grateful for all of you Policy Circle Leaders, members, and supporters, for the movement that we created together in this amazing country.
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The Policy Circle is a 501(c)3 that provides a fact-based, nonpartisan framework for women so they can connect, learn about policy and become more vocal in public policy dialogue within their communities, states and the country.