Table Planning

A response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Counting Voices

A lively group discussion, an intimate tête-à-tête, an inner monologue — in your view, when it comes to a good conversation, what’s the ideal number of people?

I am rather fond of ideals. Although I do believe that are, by definition, unachievable; I think they give us a platform to work on and goal of what we want to strive for.

I always used t think that the ideal number of people for a conversation would be myself and 5 others. Although, I do believe that it is the person that matters more than a number of people; I think that five is a good general number. Having five, reasonable people sitting around at a dinner party enjoying fine food and stimulating conversation is my ideal night out. But why do I say 5 people and not more, and not less?

I am of the opinion that having five people will almost guarantee some conversation going on at the table without anyone being left out, and without there being a definitive split between the table. There will often be times when the group is split into groups of 2 and 3 but the social dynamic and my (hopefully successful) table planning would allow for the divide to occur anywhere amongst the participants.And when everyone is involved in the same discussion there are enough people to hold different viewpoints even if those are not the views they hold. I, for instance, am of the opinion that if two people are truly in love with one another then they should be permitted to be legally wed. But if there are others at the table with this view, who believe it for similar reasons as I do, then I could take up a different position. Perhaps one that claims marriage to be a religious union and if you are not of that religion then you should term it something other than marriage. Or one that is against marriage entirely. Including the traditional view, that only men and women can be wed, we have four positions. The last remaining person is then left with the role of ‘Devil’s Advocate’. Their job is to make sure that the arguments don’t result in fistfights  and that we stay on topic while also picking up any other view that we happen to come across.

And when everyone is involved in the same discussion there are enough people to hold different viewpoints even if those are not the views they hold. I, for instance, am of the opinion that if two people are truly in love with one another then they should be permitted to be legally wed. But if there are others at the table with this view, who believe it for similar reasons as I do, then I could take up a different position. Perhaps one that claims marriage to be a religious union and if you are not of that religion then you should term it something other than marriage. Or one that is against marriage entirely. Including the traditional view, that only men and women can be wed, we have four positions. The last remaining person is then left with the role of ‘Devil’s Advocate’. Their job is to make sure that the arguments don’t result in fistfights  and that we stay on topic while also picking up any other view that we happen to come across.

I must not forget about the less serious conversations. The sharing of memories and experimenting with various ideas for instance. Also, the discussion of a good book should flow easily in this setup.

By having 5 participants in the conversation, who are strategically placed around the table to allow for conversation to flow in any combination and any direction, we are able to get a manageable amount of voices, all taking up different stances in the discussion.These are just theories I have, that I have never been able to try. I think it should be possible to get the right table set up with five at a circular table, but I don’t know how they should be placed. I would tend to go with how vocal the person is and how loud their voice is. I am a very soft spoken individual who doesn’t speak much. So I should be placed in the middle of the table. But, battle in social situations if I am at any central point, I like to hide in the

These are just theories I have, that I have never been able to try. I think it should be possible to get the right table set up with five at a circular table, but I don’t know how they should be placed. I would tend to go with how vocal the person is and how loud their voice is. I am a very soft spoken individual who doesn’t speak much. So I should be placed in the middle of the table. But, battle in social situations if I am at any central point, I like to hide in the corner and speak from there. So perhaps a better choice of table would be one that resembles an oval more than a circle. The louder, more talkative person at either end and the softer spoken person next to them so that they can physically push their way into the conversation if their voices are not heard.

Ultimately I know next to nothing on table planning and social dynamics as I am hardly ever an active participant in them. These are all just speculations and conjectures from my side. Actual confirmation of these will take a much smarter ‘James’ than I.

 

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