If you are anything like the Team here at Zeetings you are always looking for activities that increase the level of discussion and improve collaboration. I had a call from one of our customers asking the best way to host a World Café at their next offsite. After talking through the various issues with the customer, I thought that some of our readers might benefit from this information.

Hold the phone!

I hear some of you asking: “What’s a World Café?” A World Café, is a technique for creating great conversations, and one that enables thinking around critical strategic issues. Practically speaking, a World Café is a breakout session methodology that enables larger groups to efficiently and effectively discuss a topic. For illustrative purposes, I will talk though the specific customer scenario that I was supporting. In this scenario, the customer had a group of fifty conference attendees with whom they wanted to discuss a particular topic. They setup ten tables, with five chairs at each, and nominated ten moderators. Each moderator was assigned a fixed table, and a specific question that related to the topic. Ten minute rounds were started, where attendees sat with the moderator to discuss the specific question. When the ten minutes were up, the attendees switched to a new table to discuss the next question with the next moderator. After attendees has visited every table the moderators briefed the group as a whole on the discussions at their table. This is just one example of a World Café; the process is not set in stone and can be customised to your individual situation (see http://www.theworldcafe.com for more ideas).

Using Zeetings for your World Café

Traditionally World Cafés have required lots of butcher’s paper, whiteboard markers, and sticky labels. This can make it difficult to collect and share all the great information is surfaced. For the scenario above, I suggested that the customer use a generic Zeetings account. Under this account we created ten public Zeetings: one for each moderator. Inside each of these Zeetings we were able to place content, including polls, that were useful for the moderator in discussing his or her question. The account login was then shared all the moderators. When a new group of attendees sat down to start their round, the moderator gave them the SHARE URL for their Zeeting. The activity feed was used by the attendees for thoughts; the notes section by the moderator for recording salient points. Note that the only limitation of this approach is that moderators cannot broadcast, as they are all sharing the same account: Zeetings only permits the broadcast of a single Zeeting per account at any one point in time. This was not a big limitation as moderators did not have a need to broadcast. Once all the rounds were finished it was simple for attendees to get visibility on all the discussions, by simply going back to into the Zeetings.

Start the discussion

This is just one example of how Zeetings can be used to increase collaborative group discussions. I hope this blog post helps to spark your discussions.

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Photo Credit: 80686

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