First, there are actually 9 challenges – one for each Aspect in the Convening Wheel – that are explained in “The Art of Convening” book. These 5 are the most frequently cited by Conveners as the toughest to overcome.
1. Staying connected: Convening is about being open to relationship rather than closed. It is a challenge to choose to stay connected and open when our lives and schedules are full and our time is precious. Stay connected by knowing who you are and how you want to be in relationship with others.
2. Rejection: Not so much rejection itself, but the fear of rejection can derail our ability to extend a wholehearted and sincere invitation. Invite often – for all kinds of things – and experience acceptance and rejection as others’ freedom to choose rather than a personal success or failure.
3. Assumption: We say “assume and doom.” When we assume others know what it’s all about we put our gathering squarely in the realm of the unknown. Make the purpose and desired activity for a gathering as clear and explicit as possible – even if it seems unnecessary.
4. Reluctance to impose our will on others: “You’re not the boss of me!” How often have we thought it, said or heard words like that? But providing structure, environment and terms of engagement is a crucial part of convening.
5. Impatience and judgment: The compelling desire to “Just get on with it!” can rush us obliviously past the most important pieces of wisdom and capability present in our gathering. Remember, all voices are equally important and often essential to a complete perspective or empowered commitment.