About the Make Shift Coffee House

Food.   Music.   Conversation.

To understand each other’s political views, and hang out.

The Make Shift Coffee House is a place for people with different views to exchange and consider different views. Guided by a neutral facilitator we share our experiences and opinions. We ask each other questions. We try to understand each other.

It’s not about persuading or converting each other, or about condemning each other. It’s simply about learning each other’s perspectives.

In the new digital age it’s easy to choose our sources of information and reinforce what we already believe. It’s easy to surround myself with people that share my views. It’s easy to build opinions in isolation, each of us interacting with our own computer screen. It’s easy to avoid talking face-to-face.

The Make Shift Coffee House is a face-to-face place, in real time, with good old fashioned civic dialogue.

Regardless of who is in power in Washington, Augusta, or your community, it is in our best interest as community members to understand each other. When conservatives are in power, liberals have fear. When liberals are in power, conservatives have fear. And many of us are scratching our heads just trying to figure out who is right and who is wrong. When we try to really understand each other we find that things are rarely black and white, and we find that our fears subside.

In order to work with one another we don’t have to agree, but it really helps to understand what is important to the ‘other side.’ It helps us all make better decisions about our shared future. When it comes right down to it we are in this together. It’s not us vs. them. It’s just us.

Understanding each other helps us get along with each other.

Make Shift Coffee Houses are facilitated by Craig Freshley of Good Group Decisions. A professional meeting moderator, Craig facilitates a civil exchange of ideas as a neutral third party. It’s not about judging right or wrong or good or bad, it’s about understanding each others’ perspectives.

What Makes the Make Shift Coffee House Unique?

There are many types of forums for political discussions, from formal town hall meetings to informal kitchen table conversations. Lots or organizations are experimenting right now with different formats. Lots of people who want to talk politics!

Here’s what is unique about this format:

1. It’s about understanding. Just understanding. Not persuading or agreeing.

2. We are all experts. Everyone has something important to say. There is no one talking from the front of the room who is more expert than anyone else.

3. We are respectful of each other. There is no blaming or shaming. All points of view are listened to with respect.

4. There’s live music to help lighten the mood. There is art in the air to ground us.

5. There’s food to bring us together in the breaking of bread. And other drinks. And of course there is coffee.

Make Shift Coffee House Guidelines

Explained at the start of every session:

Speak from your experience.

Listen to understand.

Everyone gets a turn.

No one criticizes.

Neutral facilitation.

Video Explanation

Here’s a 4-minute video of Craig explaining the Make Shift Coffee House

Get Involved?

Stuff like this doesn’t happen without people like you.

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Want to volunteer?

It would be really great if someone took over managing this website and/or took responsibility for blabbing about the Make Shift Coffee House all over social media. Other tasks needed too. Please click here if you would like to help.

Want a Make Shift Coffee House in YOUR community?

Click here to see what we are looking for.