Phase 2: Talk

What It Is

The Talk phase is when the network calls on more community members to expand and deepen the conversations of the Assess phase. Everyone engages in critical and creative thinking related to domestic and sexual violence and other community issues, in time identifying priorities and shaping solutions. Every dialogue honors and meets community members wherever they are on their own path to prevention and leadership—welcoming, with openness, all backgrounds and ideas, while also focusing the discussion on issues of domestic and sexual violence. By engaging community members as experts in their experiences and communities, and by moving through potentially challenging conversations with determination, grace, and skill, the network reinforces its fierce commitment to the community’s collective power and capacity to lead change.

Why It’s Important

Through the Talk phase, the network lays the foundation for the process to be truly community generated and led, gathering the critical mass of support needed for social change. In the end, this phase creates the opportunities for the following:

  • Recruiting more people and organizations into the organizing process
  • Making more “public” the narrative about prevention and community change
  • Nurturing more dialogue and relationship building between community members
  • Gathering further insight into where people are on key issues
  • Expanding the scope and depth of critical and creative thinking

Note: The “Talk” phase is not training, public awareness, or a series of presentations. Rather, it is a time to be together as community members—to tell stories, listen, learn, and inquire. This phase is a distinct example of taking an “organizing” stance rather than a “training” or “awareness-raising” stance. 

How It Works

What’s Happening to the Network

The Talk phase is when the network expands and deepens its membership—drawing in multiple perspectives to increase the opportunities for innovation. Through social gatherings, dialogues, and collective analysis, community leadership becomes more visible. As energy and voices build, the network hones which issues and solutions to self-organize around in the Build and Act phases.

Messy Truths

Talking and truth telling can feel so good that many people often want to stay in this phase. In some communities, it may make sense to create some ongoing spaces where people can connect through conversation (e.g., knitting groups, reading groups, parenting groups, etc.) However, beware of getting stuck in this phase and all its comforts, and be sure to move toward more explicit forms of community action.