Dialogue in a World Cafe

Do you need more engagement and positive, constructive ideas? A dialogue to tap into the collective intelligence of a large department or organization can be done in a World Cafe, developed by Juanita Brown and others. The World Cafe engages people around a central theme and helps them connect and learn. Like all great things, it’s simple but can be magic.

Conversations that matter

The idea is that people have conversations that matter in small groups, just like in cafes with friends. Invite them to spend time on a topic, for instance: How to develop a more positive, productive culture? Under this umbrella, you can explore more questions such as: What is stopping us from being more positive and productive and how can we solve that? When would we be at our best? What do we need to do first? – and so on.
Your World Cafe questions must be possibility-oriented but not too vague. You might want to craft them with two others.

Welcome people to the space where they will find many tables with paper table cloths and markers. Explain the rules of the game – depending on your current culture you might have to show the difference between debate and dialogue.

Three rounds of wisdom

People can have three rounds of twenty minute-conversations to explore the question and write and doodle on the table cloth. Each table has a host who guards the process and takes notes. The host stays with that table while participants switch to new tables in rounds two and three – and cross-pollinate those conversations with the insights and ideas they gained at other tables.

Wrap up the Cafe by sharing and harvesting discoveries and desirable actions in the plenary session. The hosts have the overview of their table after three rounds.
Guide the last round toward action: what is a next step to take?

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My experience is that some cultures love to talk but are not inclined to do anything. That is unsatisfactory, to say the least. The World Cafe is great, but, in addition to fostering connections and understand, make it actionable.

You can download a World Cafe instruction from the World Cafe website!

This is book post #75 – Part “WE”

For more insights and tips, order my book Developing a Positive Culture

Check out the online Positive Culture Academy. Let’s be Positive Agents who do revolution by evolution: one interaction at a time, one person at a time. Subscribe to the Academy’s mailing list so I can keep you posted!

Here’s the earlier post
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If you’re confused, check the Positive Power overview and read the Positive Agent Manifesto.

By the way, if you want to contribute to a positive workplace culture, my next open workshop on Positive Culture Change Leadership is scheduled for 24-26 September 2018! More information and registration is only a mouse click away.

© Copyright Marcella Bremer, 2018. All rights reserved.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Robert T Berlin

    I just purchased The World Cafè and the guide for initiating the World Cafè concept. Fascinating! I look forward to using it in my project consulting engagements.

    1. Marcella Bremer

      Awesome, Robert! I’m glad you’ll start experimenting with the world cafe. It is great stuff. Good luck! Marcella