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7 tips to make the world café a successful meeting

Debate in a different way! This is the idea of the world café, a playful method that aims to bring out proposals in a "café conversation" atmosphere. Based on a process of collective intellectual construction, its principle is simple to set up. However, it requires the respect of certain instructions.


No. 1: Remind the participants of the rules of the game at the beginning of the meeting

After having welcomed the participantsThe moderator explains how the world café will proceed.

Namely: groups of 4 to 5 people are divided around a table to discuss the chosen topic. After 15 to 30 minutes maximum, the members change tables to complete each other's thoughts. In addition to establishing a climate of trust, the reminder of the instructions highlights the vocation of the world café: the pollination of ideas through additional contributions.

No. 2: Rely on the number of participants

The world café is an interactive pedagogy that is not well suited to small groups. It is particularly useful in gatherings of at least 20 people. Meetings with 1,200 participants have been successfully organized. The time allowed is of course proportional to the number of people involved.

Illustration article world café

No. 3: Formulate the theme well

The choice of topic is a fundamental element. For the reflection to produce interesting results, it must be clear and encourage argumentation. A formulation in the form of a question is more effective because it has the advantage of being dynamic and of plunging directly into the world of the debate.


Illustration article world café

N°4 : Create a welcoming space

Whether you are inviting dozens or hundreds of people, it is essential to create a attractive environment which evokes both simplicity and intimacy. When participants arrive, they should know immediately that this is no ordinary meeting. The layout should be round tables with paper and pens. And a wall display should be provided for the summary.

No. 5: Clearly define the roles

The moderator is the central figure who supervises the debates. He or she must ensure that the rules of participation are respected and, above all, must be able to recognize important thoughts. Next to him/her, a table host (or reporter) is designated. He/she participates in the discussions but remains at his/her table. His or her role is to summarize the points raised for the newcomers so that they can bounce back, create associations of ideas and develop them.



No. 6: Stimulate everyone's contribution

Play, draw, improvise! One of the challenges of the world café is to encourage people to participate and communicate their ideas. The facilitator should encourage the host and the members to write down, scribble and trace key ideas on the post-it notes or sheets of paper provided.

No. 7: Organize a plenary session

This gradual process of discussion culminates in the plenary phase of exchanges. It allows the participants to take note of the proposals expressed and to synthesize the most relevant ones. Perspectives for action can thus be identified.

Illustration article world café