Appreciative Talk Television Show
Appreciative Talk airs Tuesday nights at 9:00 on channel 57, Comcast Cable, Fort Wayne
Thank you for visiting the web home for my Appreciative Talk interview show. This page will grow with the show and will have links to information on guests, ideas for conducting your own interviews, and background on the perspective of the show.
The Appreciative Talk show grew out of my years of using Appreciative Inquiry (AI) in my consulting work. AI is a positive approach to personal and organizational change that creates a better future by exploring strengths, high point experiences from the past, and hopes for the future.
At the core of AI is the perspective that we create our reality, both personal and organizational, through our thoughts and the stories we tell about life. We are constantly at work making sense of life and creating a narrative that helps us define our life and our possibilities. At any time, there are multiple stories that we can focus on to describe our life.
AI seeks to find the most positive and effective stories possible. In organizational work, that means asking questions to find when the organization is at its best and expanding on strengths, assets, and moments of excellence instead of searching for problems to be fixed.
As I’ve used AI with organizations, it’s become clear to me how powerful the approach is with individuals. By asking questions that explore strengths and when a person is at their very best in life, when they are contributing to the world, and living with a sense of happiness and purpose, the very best of the person is brought forward in the conversation.
A very different person would emerge if the questions focused on weaknesses and problems.
In my years of using AI, I’ve seen how much we can influence each other’s lives through conversation. By asking questions that bring out the best in others and listening deeply to the stories and insights that emerge, we can be powerful catalysts for growth and change.
When I’m conducting an appreciative interview, I try to keep two guidelines in mind:
Ask questions that focus on strengths, exceptional moments in life and what makes a person unique.
Ask questions about where a person wants to go in life and what they want to create and see happen in the world.
Because many of my guests are very involved in non-profit organizations or businesses, I take the same appreciative approach to explore their organizations. What are high points in the life of the organization? What are strengths of the organization? What are the hopes for the future of the organization?
As we talk about positive stories and what is working in our community and the world, these things appreciate in value, just as a home appreciates in value when it is given care and attention. My hope is that through the conversations on this show we are able to help what is positive,vital, and hopeful appreciate in value.
Thanks to our wonderful cable access stations in Fort Wayne, I have the chance to ask appreciative questions of my guests and discover who people are at their best and to share our conversations with others.
I thank you for watching and for visiting this site.
John Steinbach, Producer & Host
More on Appreciative Inquiry
A key goal I have for this show is to introduce people to a way they can have their own appreciative conversations.
To learn more about John and his work
AI Commons – A site of information on Appreciative Inquiry
Three Rivers Jenbé Ensemble
Ketu Oladuwa Bio
Ketu Oladuwa Bio
Omowale-Ketu Oladuwa is co-founder and artistic director of the Three Rivers Jenbé Ensemble. Since the 1960’s he has studied Afrikan Antiquity and traditional Afrikan cultures. He began drumming in 1979 with New York ’s legendary Chief James Hawthorne Bey. Today, Oladuwa studies, teaches, and plays the traditional village-style Malinké drum ensemble. Since 1999, he has studied with Guinean masters Famoudou Konaté, and Mamady Keïta; and with the Chicago Djembe Project, Sidi Mohammed “Joh” Camara, and Lansana Kouyaté. In 2004, he traveled to Conakry , Guinea and studied with Konaté and other traditional drummers. Oladuwa’s work with children began in the early 1970s as a crisis intervention counselor. His background in theatre stems from the same period. He earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Professional Theatre from Fordham University at Lincoln Center ; worked with Garland Thompson at the Harlem-based Frank Silvera Writers Workshop; in Off-Off Broadway productions, and regional theatre at the Hudson Valley Freedom Theatre. He earned a Master of Science degree in Journalism from Northwestern University in 1983, and is an award-winning newspaper columnist. Since the mid-80’s he has taught, counseled, and inspired young people to accept their experiences and develop their self-esteem. He is a co-founder and drummer with JATA, the adult music project of the Three Rivers Jenbé Ensemble. Through his creative arts counseling service, Identity Counts, he teaches Afrikan-centered development of identity through peace studies using percussion studies and creative writing at schools, corrections facilities, and community centers.
Clydia Early Bio
Clydia has one grown child that performed with Three Rivers Jenbé Ensemble and two children that currently perform with the group and is working to raise funds for the groups upcoming trip to Afrika. Clydia has worked as an a cultural diversity trainer and developed workshops that she has presented throughout Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. Clydia has also been Executive Director of Second Chance Haven and Rainbow Horizon Childcare. Clydia has presented Management Leadership and Team Building seminars at USPS, Atari, and Hewlett Packard. Clydia has a Bachelor of Science degree from San Jose State University
Jim Barrett Bio
Founder of ACRES, writer of the Indiana Nature Preserves Act,
early member of the Board of Trustees of the Indiana Chapter
of the Nature Conservancy, heavily involved with ACRES land acquisition
projects from the 1960s to the 1990s. Worked on the
restoration of the Allen County Courthouse and gave the rededication
address upon its completion.
Carolyn McNagny Bio
Executive Director, ACRES Land Trust. Carolyn McNagny Director has a Biology and English Degree from Wittenberg University, Ohio. Carolyn holds a secondary teaching license from Indiana University. Before coming to ACRES, Carolyn was an Interpreter for Spring Mill and
Turkey Run State Parks.
Ruth Imler Langhinrichs Bio
Ruth Imler Langhinrichs is an accomplished writer and editor who has authored four plays, a novel, poetry. She has been an editor and columnist for Scholastic Magazine and Ladies Home Journal. Ruth’s advice columns at Scholastic Magazine were published in a book entitled Boy Dates Girl, which served as the inspiration for Steve Coulter’s short film, The Etiquette Man. The Etiquette Man has won numerous awards and is shown regularly on the Sundance Channel. Ruth has also facilitated memoir writing workshops and is currently a consultant at The Writer’s Center at IPFW. Ruth has served on numerous boards, was a founding member of Cinema Center, and was named Woman of the Year by the Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau in 2001.
Conducting Your Own Appreciative Interview
An appreciative interview is a wonderful way for you to help another person focus on the best they have to offer in the world. The interview can be formal or informal, hours in length, or just a single question.
Whatever form you take, remember to keep the questions focused on the positive aspects of life you would like the person to be able to appreciate more fully and to see appreciate in value.
Sometimes a single question is enough. You meet a person and begin talking about their work as a teacher, musician, parent, furniture maker, physician or whatever. You can ask:
“What do you like most about being a…?”
“Tell me about a time that really stands out as a high point experience being a…”
That might be enough. From there, you let your curiosity find follow-up questions that keep the positive, appreciative focus of the conversation.
Why ask positive and appreciative questions? Why not ask about problems and weaknesses? Because such questions will change the nature and power of the conversation. Most of us spend plenty of time talking about negatives in life and our news is overwhelmingly focused on the problems in our world. View your appreciative conversation as an experiment in what happens when you keep the focus on positive aspects you wish to appreciate in life. I think you will be pleased with what you discover and you will find that people look forward to talking with you.
Keep the focus on two areas:
When are you at your best in life? What are your strengths? What moments stand out in your life? What are some key things you’ve learned in your life and how did you learn these things?
What do you want to see in your life? What do you want to bring to the world? What are your hopes for your family, neighborhood, town, world…?
If you want to conduct a more structured and in-depth interview, below are sets of questions to use with adults. Feel free to copy and print these questions. I only ask that you leave the information at the bottom of the page in full.
Interview Questions for Adults
Opening: I’m curious about the positive aspects of people and the positives influences they have had in life. I have a few questions I would like to ask you. It will take about 20 minutes and I think you will find it very rewarding. Do you want to give it a try?
1. Think about two or three people (other than your parents) who have had a very positive influence on your life. How did the influence occur? What did these people do? How do you feel as you talk about these people?
2. What are some times that stand out as real high points in your life? When have you felt you were most in touch with your strengths, talents, and your best self? What are the circumstances of these times? What do they tell you about yourself?
3. Without being humble, what do you value most about yourself in life? Consider your different roles in life such as community member, parent, spouse, etc.
4. When you feel best about the work you do in the world, what about your work gives you a positive feeling? What are you contributing? What aspects of yourself are you bringing to your work?
5. What lifts your spirits and makes you feel glad to be alive?
6. How was the experience of this interview for you? How did it change your mood and outlook?
Interview Questions for Children
Opening: I’m interested in what you think and have some questions I would like to ask you. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. Whatever you say is fine and you don’t have to answer the questions. Ready to start?
What do you like best about being a kid?
When you think of your friends, what do you like most about these people?
What do you like most about yourself?
What’s something you are really good at?
What do you enjoy most about school?
What are some of the best things parents, grandparents, teachers, and other adults do for kids?
What are your dreams for the future?
How did you like this interview? Permission granted to copy interview questions. Please include this contact information:
Suggest a Guest
I’m always interested in hearing of potential guests for the show. Here are some guidelines for the type of guest I like to interview:
A person with a positive focus. I like to talk with people who have a sense of purpose, an excitement for living, a sense of wonder, and feeling of possibility in life.
Representatives of interesting organizations. I'm interested in representatives from both non-profits and businesses, especially if the organization is doing positive and interesting work.
Extraordinary people leading ordinary lives. We are obsessed with fame in our culture. I’m interested in the many people in life that might not be famous, but are exceptional. These could be teachers who have a real love for the job, a person who works at the grocery check out and brings joy to customers, or any other person that brings a great sense of life to living.
Someone not interested in promoting themselves or their business. While I like to talk about what people do for a living, the purpose of the show is not to provide commercial space for people.
Elders who can share what they have learned. I’m interested in talking to people of all ages, but am especially interested in valuing the lessons of elders in our society.
Creative people. I’m using the term creative broadly here. Writers, musicians, visual artists are all very creative, but so are people who can live life with grace and joy in hard times, can create a business from scratch, or improve a community through their service.
If you have someone in mind you think would be a great guest, please send me an email.
Appreciative Inquiry and Problem Solving