1-on-1 Organizing Conversations Series

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This page is a collection and curation of my ongoing series of blog posts on 1-on-1 organizing conversations. Most of it is written from the standpoint of a worker organizing their workplace, but I think the same basic principles apply, with minor adjustments, to other realms like community organizing.

Every 1-on-1 conversation will look different depending on the specifics of the workplace, of the industry, of the grievances, and, most of all, on the particular relationship you have with the person you’re talking with. As you begin to practice these skills, start slow, find another organizer who you can troubleshoot with when things aren’t going well, and make some mistakes worth learning from.

  • Building Relationships with Coworkers Is the Precondition to All Good Organizing
    • The idea that you need to get to know your coworkers before you are going to be able to take effective action with them is one of the simplest but most important lessons to learn as you start organizing.
  • An Introduction to 1-on-1 Organizing Conversations
    • Here I give an overview of 1-on-1s and the AEIOU framework (agitate-educate-inoculate-organize-uplift) in the context of organizing with a coworker who’s starting to get involved. Most other posts in this series are built on or refer to AEIOU as discussed here.
  • Organizing Is Not about Getting People to Agree with Radical Ideas
    • Newly radicalized people often get excited about radicalizing other people through intellectual argument and sometimes use this approach in 1-on-1s, but that’s actually not how we should think about organizing. Rather, building power with our coworkers is about using social relationships to re-examine and re-interpret our circumstances as workers and what it would take to make things better. Spreading radical ideas is better thought of as part of the culmination of rather than the first step of good organizing.
  • Agitation and the 1-on-1
    • Here I go deeper into the first step of AEIOU by looking at many of the challenges and mistakes I’ve made while agitating and thinking about how to do it better.
  • Education and the 1-on-1
    • In this post I tease out some of the intricacies and challenges that arise in the educate step of AEIOU.
  • Inoculation and the 1-on-1
    • Inoculation is about preparing for the boss’s next move and dealing with people’s fears of taking action. This post sketches out common scenarios, illustrates those with organizing stories, and outlines best practices for inoculating coworkers.
  • Organize and the 1-on-1
    • The organize step in AEIOU is all about getting others around you involved in taking on the tasks of organizing. But rather than just dispensing tasks to those around you like a teacher assigning homework, there’s better ways to talk with coworkers about what can be done to address issues in the workplace.
  • Uplift and the 1-on-1
    • The uplift part of AIEOU is where we support and follow-through with people as they do or don’t do the tasks that they volunteered to do. If you’ve been a good organizer by building up relationships of trust and solidarity with those around you, you’ll be able to follow-up with coworkers in a supportive way instead of being a stranger who is constantly pressuring others to do more.
  • Preparation and Taking Notes for 1-on-1s
    • Here I talk about simple but effective ways to prepare for 1-on-1s and how to keep track of information shared with you that your coworkers consider important.
  • Manipulation and Trust in Organizing
    • Knowing what manipulation looks like in organizing helps us avoid it in ourselves and others. The kind of relationships we want to build with coworkers through 1-on-1s are held together by trust.
  • Species of 1-on-1s
    • In this post I go over how AEIOU can be applied to a wider range of 1-on-1 organizing conversations than just the first 1-on-1 you have with a coworker.
  • Political Conversations in Organizing
    • Political conversations are distinct from organizing conversations, but because political and organizing conversations often blend together in practice I’m including some pieces on the topic here.
    • How Social Conditions and Personal Experience Shape Political Conversation
      • Here I discuss how taking into account people’s relationships and life conditions is essential for having productive political conversations. Contrary to widespread notions about the power of abstract reason, effective political conversation is much more about asking people questions that empower them to re-interpret their experiences than it is telling them the right ideas.
    • Tools for Political Conversations in Organizing
      • The popular image people have about political conversations is two people arguing and getting frustrated with each other. As an organizer, this is the most counter-productive thing possible and is precisely what you DON’T want to do. If you want any hope of changing someone’s mind about a topic, they have to know you respect them. Then you need some tools for how to engage in differences of opinion while maintaining connection and respect.