Relationships: the glue that holds our movement together and makes it strong
Last month, we explored the power of storytelling and our own stories of Self, Us, and Now. This month, we put those stories into action to build deep relationships to grow our capacity, commitment, and power.
The key skill of relationship building: The One on One Meeting
One on Ones are based in attempts to find common values, and committed to action. The meeting forms ‘public relationships that build communities for action in public life’. There are 5 key components of a One on One, that should be intuitively familiar if you’ve ever struck up a conversation with a stranger and started to form a friendship:
- Attention; you have to catch their attention somehow if you are going to have a conversation. This may mean making eye contact in a crowded room, or calling up to schedule a coffee.
- Interest; once you have their attention, you have to establish their interest in having a conversation with you, and you with them. You might say something like, “I have heard you are part of a group that’s trying to end homelessness in our city – let’s work out how we might be able to help each other” or similar, as appropriate.
- Exploration; this is where you spend most of your time, exploring one another’s interests and motivations. Tell your story of self, and ask the other person how they came to be doing what they are doing. Ask questions – why did you choose that path? Why did you do x not y? Why did you work here not there? What challenges are you facing? Why? What resources do you bring?
- Exchange; as a result of this exploration, you may begin to make exchanges, right there and then or in future. You offer a sympathetic ear to someone who appreciates your listening. You learn a lot from the other’s wisdom. You know a person they should be introduced to. They offer an idea for how to tackle a challenge. You might also find ways you can ‘exchange’ in future, by agreeing to meet again, attend an event together, or help one another practically.
- Commitment; if you determine a basis exists for a relationship, you make a commitment to meet again or take some other action, e.g. attend the meeting, write to the MP, bring a table of friends to the fundraiser, etc. Commitment turns an exchange into a relationship.