First, what do we mean by the art and science of meaningful discussions?

The art
: how we choose to express ourselves and respond to others.
The science: striving to create the most conducive conditions for meaningful discussions by continuing to refine our intentions and our structure.

Intentions For Our Discussions

Meaningful discussions are not debates or lectures. Each discussion is an opportunity for participants to collectively explore a topic with the following intentions:
To have an enjoyable and engaging experience with open-minded individuals while also improving our conversation skills.
To learn something new from each other by sharing our insights and unique perspectives based on our life experiences.
To learn something new about ourselves by re-examining our values and beliefs based on hearing new perspectives which we may or may not agree with.
To build a community of returning members and to create a conducive environment for new friendships.

Our Structure

Trust is earned especially when it comes to physical safety among strangers and so we only initiate events which take place in public venues (such as restaurants, community centres, etc) as opposed to scheduling events in private homes.

Intriguing Ideas from videos help to provide enthusiasm and anticipation for the discussion and also help to break the ice when meeting new people at the events.
In order to keep the discussions on topic our members take turns facilitating our events and discussion questions are provided to make this easy. Each table consists of small groups (5-7 people) which make our events particularly attractive to more reserved or introverted people.
Let's face it, some topics can be very controversial and very emotional. It is for this reason that we start with some warm up questions in order to establish an emotionally safe space for vulnerability and trust. This makes it easier to maintain respect when disagreements occur.
The main portion of the discussion focuses on sharing insights, experiences and wisdom based on our values, experiences and unique perspectives.
It’s all about building community so participants have the option to move to other tables in order to meet new people or hang out with people they’ve met at previous events.
Feedback is essential in order for us to make improvements and to help encourage new members to sign up for events. The Meetup system allows all participants to provide comments and ratings after events take place.

The structure for our events has evolved from coordinating hundreds of events around the world since 2012.