In the Art of Hosting Conversations That Matter Training where Jerry Nagel and I are part of the hosting team, after we experience circle practice, usually as a form of check-in on our first day, we offer a little teach on check-in and check-out practices as a routine part of a meeting structure and flow, as a way to help people arrive into the purpose of the meeting and to wrap up the meeting before everyone departs. We share how we, like many of our colleagues, also do this with our calls or virtual meetings as we are part of many hosting teams where members are drawn from many locations.
A participant at a November 2013 training in Grand Rapids shared her experience with how using circle with a virtual work group shifted the shape of their experience.
“I work pretty much 100% via phone. Today, I was bringing a group together after a few weeks unconnected during the holidays. Wondering how to loop everyone back into the groove, I recalled one of the things we learned at AoH in Grand Rapids, about how a “circle” acts as a form of check in and grounding. I explained briefly what we did at our AoH workshop with the circle and a structure. I asked them, if we actually had a physical circle, what structure would they place in it and what about it would they like to share.
“Wow! It was amazing how their “structure” actually related to the previously stated goals of the group and their own stated goals. This set the course for the rest of the meeting. What could easily have been a painful meeting listening to how busy everyone has been, blah, blah, blah – turned into an awesome meeting. Picking their “structure” back up set action in place for our next meeting too.
“Just wanted to let you know this stuff actually works – if we use it;)”
Love that last line – this stuff actually works – if we use it! Where is your entry point? How do you invite people so they feel invited, thoughtful about it and engaged?