This is part of a series called: “How to Give Great Circle.” It’s for those who’ve Circled before and want to hone their Circling skills. If you haven’t already read the previous parts, I highly recommend you do so here.
Okay, so you’ve want to raise your awareness and add to your Circling “vocabulary” before your next Circling experience? Great! Read on!
In Part 1, I talked about speaking about Self, “I”, and in Part 2 I talked about speaking about Other, “You.”
In Part 3, I’ll share some thoughts about Asking Questions.
And once again, please hold these ideas lightly. My intention is to plant a seed so that we all have more awareness when Circling.
It Matters What Questions We Ask
Tony Robbins says our quality of life is dictated by the quality of the questions we ask. But why? It’s because questions direct our focus and attention.
Let’s try something. What does your kitchen table look like?
You probably just pictured your kitchen table.
Questions tell our minds where to look. So when we ask questions in Circling, we change the focus of the Circlee and of the group.
So as participators (and facilitators) it’s important that if we ask questions, we ask questions consciously.
Instead of Asking a Question, Name Your Experience
My first recommendation with questions during Circling is to consider avoiding them altogether. But instead let’s name our experience… as a statement.
For example, instead of asking: “Why did you do that?” You could say: “I’m wondering why you did that.”
Another example: Instead of asking: “What were you thinking about just now?” Could be phrased as: “When you rolled your eyes, I thought ‘What was that about?’”
Or how ‘bout this: “What are you experiencing now?” Could be phrased: “I’m reeally curious what you’re experiencing right now.”
This allows the focus of the Circle to go organically where it will go, and lets the Facilitator lead.
“Why” Questions Put Someone In Their Head. Try To Avoid Them.
There are a few reasons why I recommend avoiding “why” questions.
For one, why questions can often put the Circlee into his or her head. A “why” question will illicit an intellectual response. And while this can sometimes be valuable, most of the time this takes us out of the present here-now, and puts us into Conceptual Thinking Land. And Circling is about being together in the present moment.
Secondly, we don’t always know why we do things. Many of our choices are unconscious. So the answer may not even be correct. A “why” question will give you a rationalization and the answer will likely either be A) How the person thinks about it or B) How he or she wants to appear.
Lastly, “Why” questions are often disguised judgments. (See below)
Questions Are Sometimes Hidden Judgements
If I ask the question: “Why are you a jerk?” I’m really making a judgement about you. What I’m really saying is: “You are a jerk. Tell me why this is so.”
We often use language as a way to obfuscate what we really are thinking and feeling. But in Circling we are trying to get more in touch with our own thoughts and feelings and those of others. So let’s all use language that supports this.
If you do notice you have a question that is really a covert statement, you can own it! You could share your experience. For example, you could say: “I just had the thought that you are a jerk.” You are expressing an inarguable truth of your experience…
… without projecting it onto the other person.
Try to Keep Questions Related to the Present Moment
When you do ask a question, keep it related to the present moment. If you ask about the past or future, the Circlee will often start thinking about the past or the future. (And put them into their head.) But if you ask about the here and now… well, you get the idea.
“What” questions usually help get the job done here.
When in Doubt, Let the Facilitator Ask the Questions
Facilitators have been doing this for a while. As Circlers, we can let them guide the experience with questions or whatever they feel is best. Asking Questions is a little advanced in Circling, so you can let the Facilitators do the bulk of the question-asking.
I hope you enjoyed this post and got something out of it. Part 4 of this series will be about Advice Giving.
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