A Circle Discussion is where each person speaks uninterrupted on a topic in turn around a circle.
To have participants all have an equal opportunity to speak on a topic, and to hear the patterns that emerge.
Pre-Work Required: Create a clear statement of the topic or focus question.
Set ground rules of respect and listening to understand, without arguing. Each person speaks uninterrupted. Ask people to listen for common patterns.
Introduce the question or topic.
Go around the group, soliciting ideas from each person in turn.
Go around the group several times as necessary. People may change their perspective as they hear others.
Intervene only if the ground rules are violated.
Ask someone (often an elder or a leader) to summarize what they've heard the group saying.
Follow-Up Required: none
Source: Jo Nelson
Derived from: Indigenous North American cultural "talking stick" process
One of the tools listed in the "Meeting Tools" compendium compiled by Jo Nelson and available on the IAF website
Alternative names: also known as Go Around, Round Robin, Talking Stick