7 tips to make your world café a successful meeting

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N°1: Remind participants of the rules of the game at the start of the meeting

After welcoming the participants, the moderator explains how the world café works. Namely: groups of 4 or 5 people are seated around a table to discuss the chosen topic. After a maximum of 15 to 30 minutes, members change tables to complete each other’s thoughts. In addition to establishing a climate of trust, the reminder of instructions highlights the vocation of the world café: the “pollination” of ideas through additional contributions.

7 tips to make your world café a successful meeting

Debate differently! That's the idea behind world café, a playful method designed to generate proposals in a "café conversation" atmosphere.

Based on a collective intellectual construction process, its principle is simple to implement. But as Accor’s My All Meeting experts remind us, this method requires compliance with certain guidelines.

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N°1: Remind participants of the rules of the game at the start of the meeting

After welcoming the participants, the moderator explains how the world café works. Namely: groups of 4 or 5 people are seated around a table to discuss the chosen topic. After a maximum of 15 to 30 minutes, members change tables to complete each other’s thoughts. In addition to establishing a climate of trust, the reminder of instructions highlights the vocation of the world café: the “pollination” of ideas through additional contributions.

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N°2: Focus on the number of participants

The world café is an interactive teaching method that is not well suited to small groups. It is particularly useful for gatherings of 20 people or more. Meetings with 1200 participants have been successfully organized. The time allocated is of course proportional to the number of people involved.

N°3: Formulate the theme

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

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N°4: Create a welcoming space

Whether you’re inviting dozens or hundreds of people, it’s essential to create an attractive environment – such as a café meeting – that evokes both simplicity and intimacy. When participants arrive, they need to know immediately that this is no ordinary meeting. The layout is based on round tables with paper and pens. A wall-mounted display should also be provided for the summary.

N°5: Clearly define roles

A central figure, the moderator oversees the debates. He or she must ensure that the rules of participation are respected and above all be able to recognize important reflections. Next to him, a table host (or rapporteur) is designated. He or she takes part in the discussions but remains at the 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 further.

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N°6: Stimulate everyone's contribution

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

N°7: Organize a plenary session

This gradual process of discussion culminates in the plenary phase. This allows participants to take stock of the proposals expressed and to synthesize the most relevant. The result is an action plan for the future.

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