The World Café method is an engaging and thought-provoking process to bring employees or community members together in conversation around a particular issue. One of the challenges in facilitating this process is: What are the questions people will dialogue around at their tables? Let me shed some light on this question.
Step #1: Be clear about the purpose for bringing people together. Your questions will flow from your purpose. Let me give an example from a Higher Education Summit I facilitated using the World Café method.
- The purpose of the summit was – “Building a statewide community for early childhood teacher preparation: What’s best for young children.”
Step #2: Explore questions that matter. You want questions that matter, are thought provoking, attract energy, direct attention to what really counts, and evokes more questions. Give yourself quality time to think about what is important for people to dialogue on as it relates to the purpose. As an example, the Summit planning group I worked with wanted to develop questions that would create collaboration among the participants in building a statewide community for early childhood preparation. What surfaced were three areas to focus our questions around:
- What is the commitment of people who attended
- What they can create together
- What is each person’s promise to work collaboratively
Step #3: Write the questions.
You can explore a single question or several questions. For the Summit, we developed three questions that addressed the three focus areas for three rounds of dialogue.
- What is the commitment you hold that brought you into this space?
- What can we create together that will enhance our capacity to make a difference in early childhood teacher preparation?
- What is the promise I’m willing to make that constitutes a risk or major shift for me?
These questions matter to accomplish the Summit’s purpose.
Here are two resources that will serve you well in this process.