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Conversation Café - for groups larger than 25 people

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Conversation Circle

Conversation Cafe


In Practice


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Conversation Café

image © 2002-2004 WorkingIntentionally™The Conversation Circle model works well for groups up to 40 people. At that point the group becomes a bit unwieldy. So Another form of holding conversation in circle has been formed. It is almost viral in nature. It is called the Conversation Cafe. It is designed for groups of people of 25 or more and has worked with groups of a thousand and more.

The Conversation Cafe uses exponential growth, ambassadors, and viral messaging.

This method works best if there is a specific question is being asked or a solution is being sought. This method is also highly effective in the corporate setting with large numbers of people.






Round Cafe Tables are set up with paper, markers, and something of beauty (flowers, candles, etc.) at the center for focus.


image © 2002-2004 WorkingIntentionally™

4-6 people, preferably 5 people gather at each table. We are creating micro conversation circles .


image © 2002-2004 WorkingIntentionally™

So in a group of 25 people there would be 5 tables of 5. If there are 75 there would be 15 tables of 5.

The table meets for 20 minutes following the guidelines of an effective conversation circle. They ponder the question that has been posed to the group.



After 20 minutes one of the members of the table stays as an ambassador for the ideas generated at the table, while the other four migrate to different tables separately and act as ambassadors at the new table by bringing with them the ideas from the first table.


image © 2002-2004 WorkingIntentionally™

We repeat the process

After 20 minutes we again spiral out of the group and at this point someone can stay at the table as ambassador or all five can venture off independently as ambassadors of the combined thoughts of that table.


image © 2002-2004 WorkingIntentionally™

At the end of round two our group of 75 people starts to really get mixed up. We repeat the process again



What we end up with is a great dance and intermingling of ideas that grows exponentially.


image © 2002-2004 WorkingIntentionally™

At the end of round 1 each conversation participant has the collective wisdom of 5 people
At the end of round 2 each conversation participant has the collective wisdom of 25 people.
At the end of round 3 each conversation participant has the collective wisdom of 625.


  So without actually have connected with 625 people
the ideas have grown and expanded exponentially.




Welcome to the power of conversation.

For more information on the conversation cafe format: Contact Us

Visit The World Cafe to see how this is taking form in community

  For a short guide on conducting world cafes see the World Cafe's Cafe To Go Pamphlet  
  Conversation Circles: small groups (under 25 people)
Conversation Cafe: large to very large groups
Working Intentionally Logo: Leader as host; Power of a conversation circle; Knowledge management and expansion

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