“Fishbowl” Exercise — Condensed Directions
provided by Connie Goodbread, UUA Southern Region Co-Lead
- Place ten chairs in a circle.
- Facilitator and Partner sit across from one another at opposite poles of the circle.
- Eight people join them in the circle.
- The Rules:
- Name the topic and set the allotted time frame
- Those inside the circle agree to …
— stay in the circle until the talking in over
— only speak for one’s self
— refrain from name calling, blaming and interrupting
— listen deeply
— speak one at a time
— speak into the circle only ( that is, wait until after the whole exercise to address those not in the circle)
— allow each person in the circle the opportunity to speak
— allow each person the choice to pass and/or speak later
- Those outside the circle agree to listen and refrain from speaking
- Facilitator and Partner agree to …
— make sure everyone is given a chance to speak (Note: There is no need to “go around the circle” … Each one speaks at will.
— keep track of time so that everyone has a chance to be heard
— go back to a person who passes and ask them if they wish to speak
— take a full minute of silence if the rules are broken
— lead the debrief conversation after the fishbowl(s), if that is desired and agreed upon by the group
Visit Facing History for additional guidance on fishbowl exercises.