6.1 Please note: The Death Cafe model doesn't include having specific topics, set questions and (in particular) guest speakers. We ask you not to have these at your Death Cafes. Our view is that, when it comes to death, people have enough to discuss already.
To elaborate, giving extra input or setting too much of an agenda risks being presumptuous, restrictive and/or disempowering. As such we favour offering a group directed session offering participants time to reflect on and share what they think is important. In our experience this yields the best results.
6.2 This refers to the Death Cafe session itself, which is always straightforward and open discussion about death. It is ok to situate your Death Cafe in a wider programme of events and this has happened a number of times at large events focused on death. Death Cafes could also happen in other settings too, such as art shows, film screenings, political debates, training sessions and days of spiritual practice. However the Death Cafe should always be separate from these, and observe our principles. Only the Death Cafe part of such events will be advertised on this website.
6.3 In general Death Cafes are open to, and respectful of, people of all communities and belief systems. However it is fine, and can be very good, to have Death Cafes for specific communities and belief systems. For example we have had a number of Death Cafes specifically for the LGBT community. In the same way it is possible to have Death Cafes for other communities / groups e.g. Muslims, young people, older people, homeless people etc. Wherever possible these should be facilitated by people who are from that community.
6.4 There are 2 basic ways to hold a Death Cafe and it's best to decide which you'll use in advance:
• Cafe model. This is when there is facilitator with the group throughout the discussion. In this case, the ideal group size is between 6 and 12 people. Generally 3 would be a minimum group size and 20 a maximum.
• Salon model. This is when the groups are self facilitating. Generally the facilitator/s would give an introduction and then float between groups when needed. This works better for large Death Cafes. In this case the group size would generally be between 4 and 8 people.
6.5 Generally Death Cafes are for adults. However occasionally people have asked to bring children / young adults, or just shown up with them. When they have been admitted the session has been fine for them and their parents, but sometimes other group members have felt inhibited. If you decide to admit young people please ensure you're adequately set up for this to be safe, and ask the consent of other group members.
Like life, a Death Cafe has a start, middle and an end:
6.6 At the start of your Death Cafe it is good to set out some things:
• What Death Cafe is and where it has come from (see here) and our principles (above).
• Whether you're asking for donations and, if so, what these are for (see Death Cafe and money below).
• Some basic ground rules: listening when people are talking, respect for others' views and confidentiality.
• What you're going to do in the session.
• Ask if there are any questions before continuing.
6.7 In terms of confidentiality we generally say that we share feedback for publication on the Death Café website, but no information is linked to any particular person. It's also good to ask whether people are comfortable with photos being taken if you plan to do so. If there are any journalists present it is appropriate that they identify themselves to the group. If the Death Cafe is to be filmed or recorded then attendees should be notified before the event.
6.8 As we've said, a core model is a group-directed discussion without specific topics, questions or speakers. Basically there is no agenda. As such the session tends to run as follows:
• The facilitator asks the group to introduce themselves and say why they've come to Death Cafe. This gives an opportunity for people to say whatever they want to say. Everyone takes a turn apart from people who don't want to speak. People volunteer some amazing things! If the facilitator is with the group, she/he takes a turn to speak too. This part of the Death Cafe can take some time - up to an hour in a group of 10.
• After that the facilitator asks if anything came up for the group whilst people were speaking - thoughts, questions or reflections. This may feel challenging or risky for the facilitator but attendees tend to take over the discussion and the time flies by.
• If, after trying the group-directed approach, you think your attendees would prefer a more structured session then it is ok to introduce a couple of specific questions. It is good to have these in mind anyway in case they would help the discussion. It is good to keep any questions very open. Please don't ask more than 3 - the Death Cafe tends to fly by and it doesn't work to try to do too much. It is always possible to have more Death Cafes!
6.9 After the allotted time, or if it feels like you've finished, bring the Death Cafe session to a close. It's good to give people between 5 and 20 minutes notice so they have a chance to share anything they want before the end.
6.10 Please thank everybody for attending and ask them to evaluate the session. In due course people will be able to submit their evaluations on this site. In the meantime we have a form which you can download here.
6.11 It's good to stay around after the session has ended to talk to anyone who wants to talk. It's also good to debrief with the other hosts and facilitators sometime after the event.