If you’ve been to Host Training sessions, you probably remember the Four Rules of Hosting ii Salons.
These rules, ideals and ambitions are being refined every day, as we organise and lead discussions that engage thousands of people around the world.
The below is a quick overview of where the thinking of the ii Hosts’ community is in February 2021… We encourage all ii Hosts to add their own improvements and refinements as they – and we all – grow as Hosts.
The Four Rules of Hosting which we all respect when we run an Interintellect event:
We used to jokingly call this “Stickiness”.
One of the difficult emotional experiences of the early 21st century was the ability to connect and open up to people without any guarantee that you’ll get a chance to talk to them again. This in time makes people jaded and less willing to share and listen—why bother if everything is so transient…?
At Interintellect Salons, we understand humans’ deep need for fun, one-off serendipity—but also the deep hope we harbour to build lasting connections. Therefore, at ii events, we communicate continuity: our Salons are part of a larger whole that will always be there if you want to come back.
There is a follow-up channel for every Host, every event. If a Salon is part of a series, we clearly indicate the next dates. It is possible to be part of our community forum too, and hang out there together every day.
This sense of safety helps people ease up, open up, dream away—to feel and think together, freely.
II. Imperfect Host
One of our Five Rules of Gathering is that our events are accessible to any level of knowledge. People often wonder how we achieve this while diving into some of the most complex topics of human intellectual pursuit: quantum computing, evolutionary psychology, comparative theology…
It’s simple: we Interintellect Hosts are happily imperfect! We don’t teach, don’t lecture, don’t give talks—we expect some preliminary reading and active participation, but nothing that requires a degree in the topic.
An ii Host is there to facilitate a conversation between the attendees. The Host will make sure that all the important angles are covered, that everyone who has something to share is heard, and that everyone has a good experience.
Essentially, the Host is in service of the attendees and the topic. That’s why our vibe is so laid back and unpretentious: the Host is never professorial – more like a fellow student helping everyone learn together!
III. Ritual Space
School, the office, church, the gym, your favourite coffee shop… Just like emotions can soar in well-known environments, where we can be certain if we want to we’ll get a chance to see the people we’re with again, there is something very liberating for our thoughts in spaces of comfortable repetition.
For this reason, we run ii events in roughly the same format every single time. Our attendees become familiar with it, and can “switch off” the part of their mind that is alert to uncertain environments. In the freed up “disk space”, magic happens! We like to say that ritual is repetition filled with meaning – and in this sense, an Interintellect Salon is indeed a ritual. You arrive, you intro, you relax … into the topic, the attendees, your own thoughts and realisations.
ii Hosts are responsible for conducting their room – as if it were their own living room – in this spirit of hospitable reliability. We state house rules at the beginning, and then we keep a firm ground, so that on the thoughts-and-feelings level all the buzzing combinations can develop. (This is also why when something is different about a specific event, the Host will say so at the beginning.)
III. Anchoring (to Truth)
A common characteristic of academic conferences and online discussions is that there is something very limited about how our fellow participants appear to us: there is a lot of blank space about their background, their motivations, their loyalties… And when we’re in a bad mood, it is very easy to fill out those blank spaces with negative assumptions. People we encounter in such spaces can seem like two-dimensional caricatures – and we feel we might be appearing just the same to them.
At ii Salons, we make a special effort to begin with insightful introductions aided by our ritualistic “prompt question.” However complicated, personal or “hot button” the topic of the night is, we start with the truth: about ourselves, our experiences… No goal, no selling, no self-promotion. Just being human. We’ve noticed that starting from this point of trust, transparency and patience enables worries and suspicions to “switch off” too.
And so in this spirit of lasting bonds, approachable facilitation, reliable format and trustworthy togetherness, we build our city of minds in Interintellect.