In just 2 short weeks, we will gather for Summit 2013! What we discuss, share, build, learn and create together will stretch us in awesome and challenging ways. By the end of Summit, and beyond… each one of us will be changed in some small way; each having learned at least one new thing, made at least one new friend and changed what we thought we knew for certain at least once. Learning, connecting and being open and adaptable to change are the things that will most profoundly impact our work, our lives and the Mozilla Project as we head into the future.
The following is a list, certainly not definitive, of Five Ways to Have a Great Summit. They were created in part by the Diversity Working Group and Community Builders and are meant to complement the Mozilla Community Participation Guidelines. These “5 Ways to Engage” are meant to capture the spirit of some practical things that will help us have meaningful, shared experience with one another. Many of us practice them day-to-day, so they will be intuitive and habitual. And, being explicit about our best practices is a recognition of how much we already know will contribute to a great Summit. So let’s all do that!
The work of changing the world can happen only through active participation. Commit to pushing hard to go beyond what’s easy: embrace a new idea, ask a dumb question, lead a session, close your laptop. If a session does not move you, find another that does (it’s okay to shift). You alone get to decide what interests you, stretches you and ultimately helps you grow.
Summit participants speak more than 114 languages. We don’t all understand English fluently. Some of us are hard of hearing and visually impaired. When speaking, do it slowly and clearly. Check in with others as you go to make sure they understand. Some of us have physical limitations that make getting around difficult. Offer open structures with the idea of universal access, rather than waiting for special requests. Provide clear information on access. Make room (literally and metaphorically) for all before anyone has to ask. Seek to understand, then to be understood. Practice empathy. Assume positive intent.
The Summit is a space where you can safely be your true self – why would you be anything else? – and a time to respect others’ true selves as well (even if it bothers you from time to time). Respect their space and freedom and uniqueness, as much as our own. Take care of yourself, body and mind. We only have three days together and they will be long. Mozilla needs you at your best. Rest, eat, drink water, laugh a lot. Take care of the space and each other. Pick up trash. Share your power cord.
If you see a problem, try to help. If you can’t help, help find someone who can. Don’t quietly tolerate unacceptable behavior. Stand up for your fellow Mozillians. If someone’s words make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable — a comment, a joke, a slide — and can’t address it with them directly, consider involving an intermediary (like the Conductors, for example: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Conductors). If you’ve made someone feel unsafe or uncomfortable, be open to adjusting your presentation or public speech and apologize directly when needed.
The Summit is our opportunity to pause and celebrate who we are and all that we have accomplished. It’s a chance to meet other amazing humans, to connect, to dance, to build things, to break them too. It’s your moment to dig in and have fun.
~ Dino & many others.