Knowledge Café teaches and encourages members to network

When a genealogist in Tennessee recently asked for suggestions for her society about ideas for holding a family history fair with rotating classes, I was reminded of a Knowledge Café I participated in at a Conference Board of Canada conference in Toronto a few years ago.

A Knowledge Café is a great way for a genealogy society to encourage its experts, who may be reluctant to make a formal presentation, to share their knowledge in an informal setting. It is also a good way for members to network with each other.

Here is how a Knowledge Café can work for a genealogy society.

  1. Set up tables around the room with an expert at each one.
  2. Assign a number to each table.
  3. When members arrive, give them a list of the tables and the topics to be presented.
  4. At the start of the meeting, ring a bell or blow a whistle to signal it is time for the members to choose a table to visit.
  5. The experts make a five to 10-minute presentation, followed by Q&As.  The experts can remain seated or stand.
  6. Handouts can be distributed at each table.
  7. Every 15 or 20 minutes, ring a bell or blow a whistle to signal it is time for members to move to another table.

At the Knowledge Café I attended, we did not have time to visit all the tables. The challenge — and fun — was choosing which of the many excellent presentations to attend.

What else could we do at a Knowledge Cafe? Has your society done something similar?

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About Gail Dever

Gail Dever is a Montreal-based genealogist and blogger and a webmaster for the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa.
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3 Responses to Knowledge Café teaches and encourages members to network

  1. Susan Gingras Calcagni says:

    Fabulous idea! The fact that people don’t get a chance to visit every table lends for the opportunity to repeat the event as they will want to come back and most likely spread the word to fellow genealogists. Who can resist having fun while learning in such an innovating ambiance?

  2. I love this idea, and it something I participated in at a blogging conference a few years back and it really was a great concept.

  3. Carol rice says:

    That sounds exciting. A little bit of knowledge from allot of people.

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