I’m working with two clients this month using the World Café method.
What is it? It is “an intentional way to create living network conversations around questions that matter.” Okay, so what really happens and what is meant by “questions that matter?”
People meet in small groups and engage in conversation around several questions “that matter” which will lead to harvesting new perspectives, insights and discoveries on an issue or challenge the group is facing.
What I want to focus on is developing questions “that matter.” The World Café method invites people to explore powerful questions that:
- Focus on intention,
- Attract energy, and
- Direct attention to what really counts.
You want open ended questions that do not imply immediate action steps or problem solving. The questions should invite further inquiry and discovery.
Here are a few examples of the differences.
|Typical open ended question||World Café question|
|“Why are you here?”||“What is the commitment you hold that brought you into this space?”|
|“How do we get others to buy in to our vision?”||“What is your contribution to the very thing you complain about?”|
|“How do we negotiate for something better?”||“What is the crossroads you face at this stage of the game?”|
What is the difference? The World Café questions are more personal, difficult to answer and unpredictable. The premise is these questions will evoke deeper conversation, are open for more discovery, and create more opportunity for direction. It takes real intentionality to write questions of this nature.
The World Café method is based on appreciating the journey of engagement, which is a mindfulness practice. We tend to discount this type of engaged conversation, believing our activity must be focused on problem-solving, action steps, or strategies. You will get to them, but by a different route. In the meantime, you will be building relationships, community, new possibilities, commitment and accountability to the future by virtue of the questions “that matter.” It is the foundation to how change happens in our organizations and communities.
Here is more information about the World Café.