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Creating a Conversation with the Wandering Minds Society

"Wandering Minds"

The Wandering Minds Society in DC. (Photo courtesy of Nikki Enfield)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

After working for more than a decade in electoral politics, Nikki Enfield decided she wanted to change the way people converse.

“Especially in DC, we tend to talk over and past one another,” Enfield says. “We stop listening, and we’re missing connections between each other.”

To create a casual environment where people can come together and interact in a way that encourages individual thoughts and opinions, Enfield started the Wandering Minds Society in January.

For Wandering Minds, Enfield picks a topic of interest (past topics include War in the Age of Twitter and Civic Engagement in America), invites a local expert to moderate the conversation and then invites the public (usually around 40 people) to a local bar for a few hours of dialogue.

“No matter what we talk about, it’s usually in the form of a question,” says Enfield, who explains that the topic expert is not there to talk at the participants, but just guide the discussion.

The past two Wandering Minds events have taken place at CAUSE (1926 9th Street NW), but Enfield hopes to switch up the location in order to engage different audiences.

The next Wandering Minds session will take place on Sunday, March 10 at CAUSE. The topic is “What is Funny? The Art and Science of Making People Laugh.”

“I’ve always found that comedians are such intelligent people,” Enfield says. “But what makes a person think a comedian is so funny? It’s like partisanship and dating. If you’re on a date and someone who has different views, that can be a deal breaker.”

Enfield is hosting a second Wandering Minds event this month on Monday, March 25. This event, at The 201 Bar (201 Massachusetts Avenue NE), will explore how today’s political movements came to be.

Tickets to the Wandering Minds events are $5 for early birds, $9 in advance and $12 at the door. Those interested in participating as a “topic expert” should contact Enfield at nikki[AT]wanderingmindssociety.com.

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Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania; email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

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