I have run dozens of these workshops around the world these last few years, most recently in Edinburgh and Copenhagen and always have tremendous feedback.
This one was no exception and it was made special in that my eldest daughter Lauren came along ... so now when people ask her what her Dad does ... she can do a little better then say "he travels the world having conversations with people" :-)
I had 21 people in total, most of them had paid the full price but I had given a few discounts and one or two freebies to people who were keen to take part but could not afford the full price.
I have posted an album of photos from the day on Facebook if you are interested. As you can see ... lots of great conversation taking place.
My good friend David Pottinger also blogged about the day in Rethinking The Benefits Of Conversation In Business and he is one of the people interviewed below. Sophie Smiles also posted an item No agenda. More quality conversation.
And my daughter Lauren shot a few short video clips where she asked people what they were taking away from the day.
The very first short clip with Megan Morys is a rather special one for me. In my workshops, I have long suggested that many meetings would be better broken into two meetings separated by at least a week. The first meeting would take the form of a knowledge cafe where the sole purpose was to explore and better understand the issue at hand. It should not be about making a decision or coming to consensus. And it should be about dialogue and not debate.
The second meeting would then focus on making the decision. This can and would be more adversarial and more debate-like format with often the manager who has convened the meeting making the final decision. This to my mind, overcomes the complications faced when you try to do both in the same meeting. The people who wish to explore the issue get shouted down and the people who want to make a quick decision and often have already made up their minds tend to win the day. Often a bad decision is made and the people put down come away feeling not listened to and demoralised.
Personally, I have always respected that a decision has to be made and that I may not like it. What I have always hated is not to have had my say.
Megan is the fist person to have told me that as a manager this is just what she does. Listen to what she has to say :-)
Video Playlist: Gurteen Knowledge Cafe Workshop Interviews
This is a series of short interviews shot at various Gurteen Knowledge Cafes or Knowledge Cafe workshops where participants share something that they are taking away from the day.