What do hosts do?

Round up a group of friends for an hour or so of live, in-person conversation once a month. We provide an Idea Film that touches on up to two topics — anything from forgiveness and bioethics to creativity and the future of religion. You play the video for your group and, after viewing the episode, talk.

Can I see the film before my friends come over?

Yes. Hosts gain access to each new episode on the first of the month. Feel free to take a look.

How long is the event?

The videos are about 20 minutes long and we recommend setting aside one to two hours for conversation.

How many people should I invite?

From our experience, 15 people is a great size for conversation but of course that depends on your space. You’re encouraged to over-invite—we all know that things come up at the last minute and people will cancel. There’s no hard rule but we think 8 people should be the minimum.

What makes for a good mix of people?

Some hosts focus on gathering people from diverse backgrounds. Others round up friends who know each other well. We think it adds something special to have people in the room who don’t know each other super well. But, however you do it, you will discover that even people who seem to have much in common have a diversity of life experience that makes for a rich conversation.

Should meetings be co-ed?

That’s your choice as well.

What’s your recommended policy on phone usage during the event?

We suggest that you send a day-of email reminding your guests of the start time, etc. and in that email, ask them to turn off their cell phone before they come in. Perhaps provide a landline number if, for instance, a babysitter needs to urgently get in touch with a parent.

Are hosts meant to act as conversation facilitators? Should I prepare questions for the group?

No. What we have seen is that the conversations do not need facilitating. There may be an awkward silence when the film ends.  Some people won’t talk right away, or at all. That’s ok.

Can I host the meetings outside of my home?

Sure. Any private space works as as long as you have a TV that can show the video.

Should I put out food and drinks?

We don’t have too many “shoulds.” Food and drink is totally up to you. Whatever you might put out for a book club probably makes sense for this. Here are some tips for an affordable event:

  • Do a daytime meeting. There are some projects held midday. The host puts out carrots & hummus, pb&j, tea, and coffee. Everyone brings a bag lunch.
  • Have your guests contribute an appetizer.

Can I share host duties with a friend?

Yes. Consistency is the most important thing, so if sharing makes it easier to meet more often, then you should do that.

Can I gather two different groups in a month?

Yes. Some might want to round up a co-ed group for an evening meeting and then a group of women for coffee. Fine by us.

What if I can’t get the group together every month?

We recommend having monthly meetings. We understand not everyone can do that. Try to do the first three in a row.

Some people I invited are unable to come this month, but would like to be included for the next one. Is that ok?

Absolutely. It’s inevitable that the groups will evolve and change.

How do I get the film?

Just logon to the website.  Hosts have access to the video on the first of the month.  It will unlock for guests at the end of the month.  We do this purposefully so guests see the film for the first time with their group.

What are the technical requirements?

Hosts will want to stream the video from their computer to their TV.  You will need a Smart TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast.  Eventually Amazon Firestick and Roku will work when we build our app.  We have several tech geniuses who can troubleshoot with you if you hit a snag. Call (406) 412-1955.

Will I be responsible for collecting money from my guests?

No. We ask that your guests become members on the website. It’s a nominal monthly fee (less than a book, less than a yoga session, less than other core practices that make life work better).

How does membership work?

Membership is required for all hosts and guests after the first conversation. Each member manages their own membership online. Membership is per-household and includes significant others and partners, as well as adult children living in the home.