Safe Room Amsterdam
11% of Amsterdam-based freelancers feel “seriously lonely”. Think of web designers, copywriters or musicians. Professionals who are passionate in what they do. Far from ‘people shy’, but the nature of their work often involves a high level of solitude.
Some freelancers deal well with that, they even like it, but 11% simply struggles with it. Visiting a Starbucks, doesn’t necessarily do the trick.
- Recognition. To what extent do you yourself recognize the challenges around the subject?
- What can you do about it yourself? In little groups talking through concrete solutions.
- What can others do about it? Reflections from expert speakers that talk along with the audience.
Next to that, every Safe Room edition always contains a few fixed characteristics:
- Safe Bubble: A small living room pre-event with 8 attendees to talk through the topic and finetune the content for the actual event.
- Facilitation: The actual Safe Room event is hosted by two facilitators; a man and a woman.
- Audience response technology: The event makes use of Sendsteps to participate anonymously. This fosters people to share without having to speak in public.
- Role of expert speakers: The speakers are seated among the rest of the audience. They’re not invited to give a presentation, but are there to reflect out loud and think along together with like-minded attendees. Expert speakers come from different backgrounds. Through their input, the subject gets a 360 degree perspective.
During the “recognition” part, Sendsteps was used to ask the audience: “To what extend did you feel lonely last month?”. A [too] direct question to ask a group that has just met and doesn’t know each other. Yet, the fact that attendees can respond anonymous, allows the facilitators to immediately start a dialogue on a substantial level.
There’s no need asking “who responded a,b or c?”, the result on the screen is all that counts. From there you can easily ask clarifying questions like “Who likes to elaborate on this?”. Or, “Who recognizes this?”. The anonymous responses on the screen often work as a trigger to many attendees to share a little from their own experiences. From there, the expert speakers can easily tap into the discussion and the talks become lively and dynamic.
With taboos it is easy to lose yourself in negativity. Yet, Safe Room encourages attendees to contribute to a positive forward-thinking climate. Which ideas are there to share? How can you profit from other person’s best practices? During a plenary summary, groups and individuals are briefly interviewed by the facilitators to share outcomes. But only, if people are willing and if they feel safe enough to do so. At all times Safe Room attendees should feel comfortable and safe to join the conversation if they like to.
The first edition of Safe Room Amsterdam was evaluated on the spot. On purpose; to evaluate what went well and what could be further improved. The evaluation was done with help of Sendsteps and the results were shared with the audience. The event scored an 8.3 and received constructive tips for next editions.
For instance, introducing “connectors” helping people that walk into the group, to connect with other attendees. Besides the evaluation of the event, the attendees also agreed to start small initiatives among themselves [a monthly meetup, a talk with co-working spaces to see what can be done together etc.]; in line the with the philosophy of the event!
Sendsteps founder and CEO Steven Blom is a big fan of the Safe Room concept:
In the #metoo era, in times of fake news and social media facades it is great to create events and places where people can openly talk about whatever challenge they experience. The Safe Room concept caters well to this need that many people have. And Sendsteps is used in a very constructive way as such. We’re happy to sponsor this new and positive initiative!
About the author
Robert is a professional moderator, dialogue facilitator and sidekick and works both independently and on behalf of Sendsteps audience response system. Robert has years of experience at home and abroad and has interviewed, ministers, captains of industry as well as His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In his dealings with the audience, he always uses Sendsteps. With Sendsteps an audience is able to voice their opinions, whereby attendees can cast votes or send in open comments and questions to the speakers and panels on stage. As such events turn into 2.0 experiences with everyone being able to speak up!