Talking Circles

Another strategy that could help the team identify opportunities with community leaders is using talking circles.  Talking circles are a communication technique adopted from the Native Americans.  In this technique, individuals sit in a circle.  This represents equality amongst all the members – there is no hierarchy and all people and thoughts have equal importance.  Either a topic is proposed for the circle or someone proposes a thought, or idea for discussion.  A single individual then holds a talking stick – or some other object.  Only the individual who is holding the stick may speak.  This allows one to speak his or her thoughts free from judgment or interruption by others in the circle.  Rather than a power system, a system of harmony amongst the participants is established.  It promotes teaching, listening, and learning amongst those involved (Franzen, 2009).  Talking circles could be used to start a discussion about the challenges the community faces and their hopes for overcoming these challenges and how to create opportunities from them.

For more information on Native American talking circles click here