“Keep silence for the most part, and speak only when you must, and then briefly.” ∼ Epictetus
EPIC Council 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 seat themselves in a circular shape around the identified purpose or goal. Sitting at eye level and on an equal plane places the intention as the highest priority and not seniority in the room. With a clear purpose in the center, relevant stakeholders surround and face the intention. Team members speak to the center, to the purpose. This message then resonates back out to the edge, thus personalizing the meeting and making it solution-focused.
Creating a safe container to speak and listen
EPIC Council creates a safe container allowing each participant to have a voice and clearly see and hear one another. EPIC Council creates a shape similar to the singing bowl metaphor used to create individual and group resonance. Teams should use a facilitator until the process is learned. The format can then be led by team members on a rotating basis to encourage collective responsibility for maintaining a healthy and safe culture.
The power of all voices and active listening
Many indigenous tribes in North America use a talking piece as an instrument of aboriginal democracy. Whoever holds the stick has permission to talk while the others listen. EPIC Council uses this method to foster full participation and encourage meaningful dialogue. The talking piece gives all team members an equal voice. Self-awareness increases as no one person can dominate a discussion.