Conversation Café

Objective: "Conversation Cafés aim to foster a society that actively engages in important social topics, which are newly selected for each gathering, by creating a temporary environment that promotes--through mild facilitation--certain conversational etiquette, including open-mindedness, acceptance, curiosity, discovery, sincerity, and brevity" (

"The organisation in the US suggests the following process:

  • Assemble up to 8 people plus host; agree on a hearty topic, find a talking object that is to be passed around, and set a time (1-2 hours). The host explains the process and agreements.
  • Round 1: Pass around the talking object e.g. a cushion; each person speaks briefly to the topic, no feedback or response.
  • Round 2: Again with the talking object, each person deepens their own comments or speaks to what has meaning now.
  • Dialogue: Open, spirited conversation. Use the talking object if there is domination, contention, or lack of focus.
  • Final Round: With the talking object, each person says briefly what was meaningful to them.

They also describe six principles for good conversation, which can be used as guidelines:

  1. Open-mindedness: Listen to and respect all points of view.
  2. Acceptance: Suspend judgment as best you can.
  3. Curiosity: Seek to understand rather than persuade.
  4. Discovery: Question assumptions, look for new insights.
  5. Sincerity: Speak what has personal heart and meaning.
  6. Brevity: Go for honesty and depth but don't go on and on." (


Participation level Target groups Number of participants Duration/Timeline Implementation Frequency Budget
Consultation Any Up to 10 1/2 day Live event Any Low
Organizational requirements:
  • Moderator
  • Provide a welcoming environment to shift from small talk to BIG talk
  • Provide a topic
  • Education about the procedure of the activity before the actual activity taking place
  • Ensuring equal handling of all stakeholders and all inputs