Hosting Conversations about Questions that Matter
Here is a simple format I often use:
<intro paragraph> This describe the strategic intent for the cafe (e.g .if there is a calling group who are they and why are they calling this conversation).
<invitation to questions that matter> Seeding some juicy questions to support the invitation process, that their voice is needed, sometimes being specific on "who" is invited e.g. parents, teachers, students, administration, other community members
<RSVP, date, location and other helpful information, who to contact if questions>
I don't often describe much about the World Cafe process in the invitation, but more stress that it will be a conversation-based experience.
One last thing that I've found (along with many colleagues here) is that invitation is a process. A beautifully written invitation letter is most effective when followed-up or preceded by person-to-person interactions through the network to nurture the field before people sit down together.
Here is an example of some body text:
You Are Invited…
The Task Force on Sexually Exploited and At-Risk Youth has been working collaboratively since 1998 to address the sexual abuse of children and youth in the sex trade. Every few years, Task Force members stop, take stock of their work, discuss possible future directions, and create a workplan to guide them for the next part of their journey.
We are inviting you to a session where we can listen and learn what is needed now as we create our workplan. Our time will be spent in collaborative conversation around questions that matter such as:
You each have a unique vantage point within the system and many of you work closely with sexually exploited and at-risk youth. We need your experience, perspective, ideas and questions in the conversation to help us explore different possibilities for our path forward. Your voice is important – will you join us?
Do share what you create for us to learn from!
Thanks, Amanda for sharing the ideas that have worked well for you. I see some ideas for jump starting my thoughts. Have a great 2014.