Conducting One to One Conversations

A one-to-one is a personal conversation between an individual community member and an activist or organizer. The goal is to share concerns, level of interest and commitment for an issue, as well as the resources each person has to offer.

One-to-ones should take place in a quiet setting and last 30 minutes to an hour, during which time the organizer and the congregation/community member should develop a level of trust with one another. The community member will do most of the talking initially, while the “interviewer” asks questions to clarify points and learn more detail. The “interviewer” should share his/her own motivations and interests in the issues discussed. This is an opportunity to get to know each other. Aim to learn what you have in common and how you can work together.

What Should We Talk about?

Ask open-ended questions such as:

  • What was life like where you grew up?
  • What influences shaped your values?
  • What experiences changed some of your original viewpoints?

Also find out:

  • How long this person has been a member of their congregation and/or community.
  • What kind of social justice work this person has done through congregations and/or community organizations.
  • This person’s vision of how their congregation can be involved in the community and on state and national levels.
  • Experiences they have had with exclusion, oppression, and violence.
  • What difference the Standing on the Side of Love campaign might have made in such situations.
  • What ways this person would like to be involved in Standing on the Side of Love efforts.
  • Community relationships they have and/or special interests or skills they can contribute.
  • Additional people with whom they suggest you meet.

Do not take notes during a one-to-one interview. Write them up later and pass them in to your Standing on the Side of Love core team leader.

Adapted from work by the Marin Institute and the Unitarian Universalist Association Office of Congregational Advocacy and Witness.

For more information on conducting one-to-ones, see Sustainable Action: Planting the Seeds of Relational Organizing.