In order to make your Peaceful World Conversation as productive as it
can be, there are various factors to take into
consideration. Here are some of the things to consider in
preparing for a successful World Conversation
You will need a table big enough for 4 to 9 people. Round
tables are ideal and should be large enough to spontaneously
add more chairs. It is helpful if additional tables are
available nearby for other groups if needed. Lacking a round
table, two small cafe tables can be pushed together. Try to
avoid long or large tables where the conversationalists are
not in equal contact with each other. Other than items
directly pertaining to the conversation, try to keep the
middle of the table clear. Flowers and ornamental items are
often best relegated to the food service or other parts of
It is best for the location of the table to be visible from
the entrance but positioned off to one side. This will
create a public space accessible to anyone but also give a
sense of privacy for the participants to be able to hear and
engage one another.
Entering the room, participants see a welcoming sign
indicating the "Conversation Table" and inviting them to sit
down and introduce themselves if others are already there.
In the center of the table is a Welcome Card with
instructions and suggestions for possible topics of
conversation. Anyone who wants to suggest a topic for
discussion is welcomed to do so; topics are frequently
selected from the table centerpiece card.
Quiet and casual. A welcoming atmosphere includes a quiet
enough environment for people to easily hear each other.
Background music, or noisy café equipment can create
distractions that impede a good conversation.
It is preferable for each table to have its own host. If one
person is hosting more than one table, he or she should move
around from table to table. More than 3 tables require a
microphone or a very quiet environment in which the host can
facilitate to keep everybody involved and comfortable.
Conversationalists are any and all interested travelers
passing through or staying at the B&B or travel site, as
well as local people invited by the host or also just
Questions posed as topics of conversation are all-important.
Giving the participants the option of choosing their own
conversation topic provides the experience of deciding what
needs to be addressed, and of feeling connected to important
issues and to other people. What do we all have in common in
shaping the kind of world that works for all?
The Host should help to focus the question agreed upon by
participants and shape it in such a way that allows everyone
to relate their personal experiences to the topic at hand.
Since time immemorial food and drink have gone together with
good conversation. For travelers, a breakfast at the
beginning of the day or perhaps a shared supper after a day
of adventure can be a welcoming homecoming. We find a
self-service buffet ideal for this purpose. Of course the
owners of each café or facility will have their own style of
combining the delights of nourishment of both body and soul
and will be able to make arrangements with the conversation
host. At the beginning of the conversation the host should
identify short "break" times for replenishment of food and
drink. This will give participants an idea of how the
conversation time will be structured and keep interruptions
to a minimum.
The wonderful variety of traveling guests can often make
possible various language tables. Bringing French Canadians
in touch with French travelers or second language speakers
can be as enlightening about people’s similarities and
differences as sharing on the topic itself.
Friends and Strangers:
While anyone is invited to join the table with their travel
partners, it is important to encourage the table(s) to
consist of people who are very different from each other.
Exciting realizations are made when strangers become
connected in ways they did not expect, learn something new
about each other and themselves, and make new friends.
Husbands and wives, people traveling in pairs or groups
should be encouraged to split up between tables if there are
enough people to create multiple conversation tables. They
can enjoy new conversationalists at a different table, thus
expanding the experience they can both share with each other
after, and expand their circles of friends.
Latecomers often provide the most disruption and stop a
meaningful conversation from ever developing. The best way
to address this usually is to not include them after the
conversation has begun. Invite latecomers to "fish bowl" the
conversation, sitting and listening in right behind the
participants at the table. Other guests may elect to sit at
nearby tables, informally listening. All are welcome and
they often join the participants after the closing of the
The same goes for people who need to leave early, catch a
plane, or meet friends. Participants should be aware that
they need to commit to the allotted time frame of the
conversation in order for it to flow smoothly and be
The host must stay aware of the flow of the conversation. If
it seems that the conversation and participants would
benefit from a short break, the host can suggest that the
participants take a few moments to replenish food and drink
and come back to the conversation refreshed.
Click here to continue:
The Process: Eight Steps