Connecting local responses around the world
'Why do we sit in a circle' was one of the first questions I was pondering and writing about after starting the SALT-course. In fact, there were more questions: 'How does hierarchy impact meetings?', 'How do rank differences show up in meetings?', 'What does a non-hierarchical setting means?', 'How do you create a non-hierarchical setting?', 'What will sitting in a circle do?'. These are my answers, based on my experiences in private and business situations.
When hierarchy is involved in a meeting (in fact in every situation) ideas and thoughts do not flow. Rank difference can show up by cutting of people, by pushing through a solution, by intimidation or being intimidated.
A non-hierarchical setting means that everyone is equal in being a human being, that there is no right or wrong in the sense that all that is being said is part of the voice of the system and should be treated like that.
How I create non-hierarchical settings? By choosing a round table if possible. By not sitting on the head of the table if I have a certain role where hierarchy can be suggested. By treating everybody equal. And if possible I prefer a circle without a table in the middle.
So sitting in a circle for me is all about being equal. That doesn't mean that all have to agree. It is about listening what the others are saying and learn from that. I also learn from someone I don't agree with.
Sitting in a circle means no barriers. Sitting in a circle means flow, together you can go round and round and round .....