Why Have Conversations?
Good conversations are like a walk in the woods. They inspire, they bring forth new information and new ideas, they connect people in both heart and mind, they challenge old or stuck thoughts, and they deepen relationships. We know the feeling that attends a good conversation.
Good conversations are art, and as art, they require skill and attention. Good conversation is a counter-balance to the kind of interaction that technology brings us – good for information transfer and staying in touch, but not so good for sharing depth and feelings in a group.
Exhilarated by several good conversations at the Conversation Cafés at the Subud Congress in Puebla, Mexico in 2014, conveners Victor Margolin and Suzannah Rosenthal and a small committee decided to encourage local Subud groups to create their own Conversation Cafés.
Conversation Cafés are open, hosted conversations in cafés as well as conferences and classrooms—anywhere people gather to make sense of our world. At a Conversation Café there is nothing to join, no homework, no agenda, just a simple process that helps to shift us from small talk to BIG talk, conversations that matter.
Hosts are key to successful Conversation Cafés and we are here to make hosting easy, rewarding, and fun for you.
Just starting out? Get oriented! You can learn the basics by watching the video, or reading the hosting manual.
Ready to host and need some resources? You can download everything you need, find stimulating questions, and learn to frame questions powerfully. We have suggestions to help you promote your Conversation Café. Variations and Applications: Discover ways to adapt to shorter times or larger groups, as well as blending with a World Café design. Consider ways to bring Conversation Café to your workplace, organization, event, conference or community.
Q: What is a Conversation Café?
A: It is a one-and-a-half hour hosted conversation, held in a public setting like a café, where anyone is welcome to join. A simple format helps people feel at ease and gives everyone who wants it a chance to speak—it’s also fine for people to simply listen.
Q: May I make copies of the material on your website?
A: Yes! We provide all of the materials on this website free of charge for your use to help you host exciting and successful conversations.
Q: Can you recommend some good books about conversation and dialogue?
A: A list of some excellent books can be found on the Richmond Action Dialogues website. The Resource Center of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation website also shares hundreds of resources designed to help dialogue facilitators.