“Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating,” claims screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. In today’s digital age, it’s never been easier to communicate and reach out to others. However, we’re increasingly finding our conversations have never been so tense and polarised. The key to good conversations lies in communicating in healthy and constructive ways. But not all of us have had the privilege of accessing the resources which guide us in doing so. 

Part of Refugee Week is about encouraging dialogue and simply facilitating conversations. Whether it’s a chat with someone with lived experience of seeking asylum or displacement, or facilitating a conversation between two strangers about something as simple as how they’re doing, we believe the key to a welcoming society begins with an ecosystem of listening and sharing. 

That’s why we’ve curated a selection of resources here intended to be a guide towards facilitating your own constructive conversations. 

Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation 

Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. 

7 Ways to Make a Conversation With Anyone | Malavika Varadan 

“We mustn’t speak to strangers.” Malavika Varadan, challenges this societal norm, by presenting 7 ways to make conversation with anyone.

Resources for how to facilitate conversations around sensitive topics:

This messaging guide is a tool to help the refugee and migrant advocacy sector to think tactically, play to our strengths and win. Freedom from Torture look at the current communication problems facing the sector, and the methodology and messages that can help us carve out a new approach that will be successful in persuading the public.

As part of their research, they looked at the media and communications output of 10 migrant and refugee advocacy organisations in the UK, concentrating mainly on media releases and campaign literature but also examining some broadcast appearances of senior figures in those organisations. They outline the challenges facing the UK’s migration sector in terms of how it is currently communicating on refugee issues.

IMiX exists to support organisation working in the immigration and refugees protection sector to grow their strategic communications capacity, with a focus on local and regional groups. In addition, they influence the public debate on immigration issues by producing communication outputs that cut through and have an impact. 

When you communicate through the media, we often talk about using a ‘story’. A story could mean anything from a report being launched which recommends the government do something differently; to a person who you work with talking about their life and experiences in a broadcast interview. This pack intends to help you tell that story effectively.

Wellbeing isn’t just about feeling good. Nor is it just being healthy and having enough nice things. To nurture wellbeing in a holistic sense, we need to nourish students’ abilities to have fulfilling relationships and to ​engage in valuable activities​, as well as supporting them to have ​a sense of meaning and purpose​ in their lives.

A wellbeing-focused space is likely to be characterised by a ​dialogic approach​, where there are ​no right answers​, and space is opened for students to ​reflect on and ​explore questions such as; What makes me me? What do I value? Why? Who is significant in my life? Why? Where am I going? How does this connect with my life now? The Visionaries present ​three types of session outline that you may find useful in designing your well-being focussed sessions.

The Women’s Institute is mobilising its network of 190,000 women to offer refugees a warm welcome when they arrive in the UK. The organisation is encouraging its network of 5,500 WI groups to set up Conversation Cafes in their own communities to offer refugee women a place to come together to meet others and learn new skills.

The scheme has been set up in response to a huge outpouring of support from the WI network in response to the recent refugee crises in Afghanistan and Ukraine. The WI has had a flood of requests from WI members who wish to take practical steps to support and welcome refugees to their communities. 

Use the Women’s Institute’s Conversation Cafes as inspiration to start your own Conversation Cafe for your own community, group or organisation.