Over the years, in running my Knowledge Cafés, I have discovered through trial and error and observation that the ideal size of a group for interactive conversation is three or four people.
Depending on the number of individuals taking part in a Café and the availability of suitable sized tables it is not always possible to have three or four people at a table. In this case, five people are OK but no more.
Anything more than five and the conversation does not work so well: one or two people tend to dominate; the conversation breaks into two, even three; frequently one person is totally cut out of the interaction, and there is little energy in the group.
To have a good conversation you need to be in touching distance of each other, and each person in the group needs to be equidistant.
If the availability of suitably sized tables is a problem, then the Café can be run without tables.
Research into the influence of group size on conversation confirms this ideal group size.
These two settings are ideal:
This page is part of an online book on Conversational Leadership that I am in the process of writing.
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