The World Cafe Community

Hosting Conversations about Questions that Matter

Hello cafe community,

I'm a Consensus Organizer who has become very excited about the cafe conversation process. I am ready to host my first conversation cafe in my community, but I'm feeling a little wobbly out here on my own! I've read the World Cafe book and I'm convinced that my community would benefit WILDLY from a conversation or two around questions that matter.

All I need is a little advice and guidance as I launch out on this cafe journey. I have a couple of specific questions but I'm not sure what would be the best way to ask them.

Please feel free to engage me. I'm raring to go!!

Thanks ahead of time for your support!!

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Did you know that you can ask for a mentor in this community? I think you have to answer it in one of the questions in your profile... there is surely someone nearby...
Thank you for your reply. I mis-understood that question in my profile to mean "did I need a mentor to learn to use the technology in this web-community". I can go back and change that question. Thank you for the suggestion.
there are 2 such questions. you are both right!
I'm in the same position. I've been telling myself I can attend one first, and since then I've been finding ones going on locally, just lining up my schedule. Thanks for sharing: your voicing what part f me is feeling made me less lonely-feeling, revived the 'revving', and has me now e-mailing the people who might know of local WCs going on that might work for me!

I'm sure I'll find a mentor in the flesh at that event. I'll offer to help organize it to be 'behind the scenes'!

much happiness to you in your passionate application of all of your talents!
Oh Briana, it is a happy day when I find others who are still learning the ropes. Now you are voicing something I forgot to say, which is I would LOVE to see a cafe done, and to volunteer at one before ever hosting one of my own. However, I can see how clearly my community would benefit from this NOW and so I am wondering if a good conversation with someone who is experienced, and perhaps a sage volunteer or two at my event would substitute for experience (?). Where are you located?
Hi La Vonna,
Welcome!! How exciting to see what might happen in your community....where do you live? With that, we might put you in touch with a "cafe coach" in your area. OR, please contact Nancy Margulies (you can write her through this community--look her up) OR e-mail her directly at:Nancy Margulies Nancy is working on a project called Promise USA which has to do with community cafe conversations across the country on key issues. Her phone number is 650/728-9287. She is collaborating with Christine Whitney Sanchez (you can find and write to her in this community list of members as well--) who can also be of support to you.

With warm regards and best wishes,
Hi Juanita,

Thanks so much for your reply. I will contact Nancy. I have a nice gentleman who has offered to support me in my planning process but he is out of town this month. I need some support in the interim, so I'd be interested in any kind of cafe coach or mentor I could get my hands on.

Thanks again for your warm support!
LaVonna and Briana, I vividly remember my first cafe. I was hyper organized feeling that everything had to be exactly like the guide. I was so worried and nervous. After the first couple I began to relax and let the conversation emerge. With TWC, it always does. Trust in the conversation and trust in TWC process as that is where all of the work is done. Just be a good host and enjoy. At least that is my perspective. You have come to this community for a reason, my guess is that you have TWC inside of you already; it just needs to be allowed out. Let it out and have fun. I wish you the best and of course if you ever need a conversation just let me know.

Good day John! Thanks for your reply.
Since you have experience in hosting, I have a question for you. How can I figure out how much a cafe will cost for 25-30 people?
I am a volunteer with already too many out of pocket expenses, so I would like to apply for funding somewhere, but have no clue what types of costs will be involved.
If this is too specific of a question for you to address, I understand. A good conversation would go along way in giving me the confidence I need to plan my cafe. When I talk about the cafe I want to plan, people are intrigued but not sure what I'm talking about.

Thank you!
Dear LaVonna, first of all, I would like to say Welcome to the World Cafe and its online community. Where are you located? It's so incredible to look at the map and realize how many people are having conversations that matter to them in such a friendly format as the World Cafe.

Regarding your question about costs, I would encourage you to (a) think about your Cafe session as a space to have a good conversation and gear for the 'basics' that will make it a friendly/hospitable space. I venture to say that most of us have had the experience of good/significant conversations in simple but conducive places that allowed for an intimate and creative conversation. And (b) access the "The World Cafe: A resource guide for hosting Conversations that Matter" on pages 25-27 to get an idea of the materials you may want to use. You do not need to acquire all the materials listed in the booklet--see what you need to create a simple but inviting conversational space. Once you make your own list you can easily get cost estimates. Ah! there are some World Cafe sessions loaded into You Tube that you may find useful to introduce people to the process.

Best Regards,

Maria de los Angeles
Dear Maria,

Thank you for your words of welcome and your thoughtful reply. I am in San Diego, and lucky of me, one of our online community members is stepping forward to shepherd the flock of newbies here. I can't make the first meeting, but am looking forward to meeting with them.
I have not moved forward with my cafe plans yet, as I am frozen in intertia. I know myself well enough to know that a little support would activate me. I do think viewing the YouTube material is a great idea.
Tell me a little about your experience in hosting cafes. I would relish any wisdom you would offer someone going out to host a cafe for the first time.
All for now,
LaVonna sounds like you will need 7 small rounds set up in a banquet style room set up. There is a good room diagram under conversations. You will need to find a location that has small tables. If no small rounds try small squares or small rectangles. You will need a bit of room for a table for you as a facilitator, flip chart etc. I would say a 30x30 would be not too crowded. Try to keep it comfortable. See if you can find spaces that are free. Community service organizations, non profits, fire stations, libraries, schools, etc. often have space for free for a good cause. Do a bit of networking in your community and I bet you can find a space. We even have a retirement home in our community that has a good space. You will find people will be happy to help you. May not be able to be choosey about tables, get what you can. Just try to keep them small so that people are not shouting across the table. It is all about the conversation with 4 ideally at each table. Try the dollar tree for really inexpensive table covers etc. I have seen dishes of stones, flowers, etc for the table and of course markers, pencils, pens, and a sheet or two of large paper etc on the table.

Talk about TWC as a conversational practice that builds understanding, community, and clarification of any type of question. You can pose a question or frame an issue and have the question come from the group. Be you, be a process facilitator. This is not a "you must know stuff" process, it is a "I am here to help your wisdom emerge" process. Make it fun. No one knows what it is supposed to look like so if you make mistakes what every that means, no one will know. Just relax, have fun and let the conversation emerge. You will be so excited to see the conversation. Do three rounds, maybe four and then facilitate a conversation with the group about what they learned, what emerged, etc. Share what is on the tables. Take pictures. A fun idea is to put paper across the wall and have the group capture their experience as a group graphically. This is so cool. Take pictures again. After learning in conversation, ask about the experience of the process. This will build your confidence. And of course I would be happy to talk with you. I am at home this weekend and you are welcome to call me at 541-526-0613 or on my cell at 54-497-3774. And of course review TWC guide. Good resource. Be flexible.

You are going to be great. This is a wonderful process. Trust in yourself, your wisdom, you compassion, and TWC process.



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