“Keep silence for the most part, and speak only when you must, and then briefly.” ∼ Epictetus
EPIC Circle gathering format
This form of meeting is based on a traditional Native American form of holding council and The Circle Way. Sitting in a circle brings conversations at a deeper, more intentional place. Gathering in circle is a process by which many forms of meetings can be held.
Identifying and placing the intention in the center
The process begins by identifying a clear purpose. Why is the team gathering? What is the current core issue? Managers can define the purpose beforehand or the team can collectively establish the intention in the meeting. The clearly identified intention or goal is then placed in the center of the circle.
Sitting around the intention or goal
Stakeholders sit in around the purpose or goal. Sitting at eye level places the intention as the highest priority and not rank or seniority. Team members face the intention and speak to the center, to the purpose. This message then resonates back out to the edge, thus de-personalizing the meeting and making it solution-focused.
Creating a safe container to speak and listen
EPIC Circle creates a psychologically safe container allowing each participant to see and hear one another. This container creates a singing bowl metaphor creating individual and group resonance. The format can eventually be led by team members on a rotating basis to encourage collective responsibility.
The power of all voices and active listening
Many indigenous tribes in North America use a talking piece as an instrument of aboriginal democracy. The stick holder speaks while the others listen. This gives all members a voice and encourages meaningful dialogue. Self-awareness increases as no one person can dominate a discussion.