Conversation Cafe

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(Items in the above list that are marked with an asterisk have my notes in them)

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Conversation agreements.jpg

Engage everyone in making sense of profound challenges

  • Unlimited number of 5 to 7 chairs around small tables
  • Talking object (e.g., talking stick, stone, or art object)
  • Markers and one or two pieces of flip-chart paper per table optional
  1. Explain there will be four rounds of conversation at every table, two first rounds using a talking object, the third one as open conversation, and a final round with the talking object. Give the duration of each round.
  2. Distribute the talking objects
  3. Read the six Conversation Café agreements.
  4. Ask for someone at each table to volunteer as the host. The host is a full participant whose role is to gently intervene only when a participant visibly fails to observe one of the six agreements, most frequently talking on and on
  • First round with the talking object: each person shares what he or she is thinking, feeling, or doing about the theme or topic. 1 min. per person
  • Second round with the talking object: each person shares thoughts and feelings after having listened to everybody at the table. 1 min. per person
  • Third round: open conversation (option to use talking object). 20–40 min.
  • Fourth round with the talking object: each member shares “takeaways.” 5–10 min.
  1. Use Wicked Questions to deepen conversation
  2. Encourage participants to draw or record insights on the flip-chart “tablecloth”
  3. To move into action, string together with What, So What, Now What? W?, 15% Solutions, Design StoryBoards, User Experience Fishbowl, or Open Space Technology.