20 Sep FIVE STEPS TO HOST YOUR MY MIAMI STORY CONVERSATION

Editor’s note: My Miami Story conversations are back on October 23rd! Sign up to host your own at MyMiamiStory.org.

My Miami Story conversations are about creating a space for Miamians to link up, share their stories about life here and spark ideas to improve the place we call home. Over the past two years, thousands of residents have joined in and some have taken action on issues they care about. On October 23rd, this community is doing it again. Everyone’s invited and anyone can host.

As a host, you’re taking lead on doing something great for our city, and it’s easy with this host toolkit. You’ll find all the materials you need to invite guests, prepare and share about your event, plus opportunities to get your questions answered and connect with fellow hosts at meet-ups and webinars. Are you ready to sign up? We hope so. Whether you’re a first-time host or a returning one, we’ve got you covered with these five easy tips:

Invite your guests. Feel free to invite anyone you want: friends, friends of friends, colleagues, neighbors or acquaintances from your local community gathering place or place of worship. Try to select a group of folks who feel comfortable sharing their opinions and will respect the opinions of others. Eight to 10 people is ideal, that way everyone at the table has a chance to share. You might also consider co-hosting your event with a friend, a group you’re affiliated with or a nonprofit you volunteer at. As you invite guests, ask them to register as a participant so they receive a survey afterward.

Location, Location, Location. The venue is all up to you. You can gather around your breakfast table at home, take over your office break room, spread some blankets at a nearby park, meet up at a local library, sip cafecito at your favorite café, connect over happy hour or host a potluck dinner with neighbors in your backyard. Hold your conversation wherever you can gather, talk and relax with your guests.

A 2017 My Miami Story conversation with emerging leaders hosted by Marlon Hill.
A 2017 My Miami Story conversation with emerging leaders hosted by Marlon Hill.

Keep the discussion open and engaging. Consider whether you want a theme; perhaps there’s an issue you care deeply about that you want to further explore or a topic you want to learn more about. Once you’ve decided, the online host toolkit has tons of helpful resources for you. (And, if you sign up by October 12th, we’ll send you a host toolkit in the mail in time for your conversation.) Be sure to check out the upcoming webinars and host meet-ups, too. At the meet-ups, you’ll run through mock conversations and hear from past hosts. The toolkit will continue to be updated as the day nears with materials, including some cards that share facts about Greater Miami from the Our Miami Report. These fact cards make for good conversation prompts. Starting with the question, “What’s your Miami story?” also works. Always try to keep the conversation open and ensure everyone’s perspective is valued.

Amplify your discussion. Capture and continue the conversations that you’re having online by connecting with other community members using the #MyMiamiStory hashtag. Invite your guests to do the same. When it comes time to close, end on a positive note by discussing solutions and actions to make this a better place to live. You can all record a group video summing up the conversation and commitments made, then share them on your social networks.

Encourage guests to fill out their surveys. Before everyone leaves, remind them to take the follow-up survey. The survey will capture the stories, opinions, ideas and plans that come out of your discussion. The Foundation’s research partner will compile responses and create a report that they’ll then share with the community, elected leaders and local officials, so completing the survey makes sure that all voices are heard in the report to the community. If they registered on the My Miami Story site as a participant, they should automatically get an email inviting them to take it. You can also collect their emails and register for them. Or, even easier, have guests simply text “MMS2018” to “797979” for a link to take it.

Ready to host a My Miami Story conversation? I am! We hope you will, too.

Andrew Boryga is a freelance journalist and is hosting his first My Miami Story conversation on October 23rd. 

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My Miami Story: Much more than a conversation

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