- Be on time. Due to the confidential and intimate nature of council, the group may decide not to open the circle for you if you are late.
- Speak from your heart. Avoid lectures, expressing ideas, doing others inventory. Passion and a focus on personal revelation rather than philosophical reflection helps everyone stay attentive and honors the circle further by showing a willingness to take risks. Remember “no fixing, no saving, no advising, no setting each other straight.”
- No crosstalk. The person who holds the talking piece has the attention of the circle. The only time someone else can speak is in the rare occasion that the facilitator feels that it is absolutely necessary to maintain the integrity of the circle. The person who is speaking may feel moved by someone else’s speech and could mention that, but not for crosstalk. No fixing, no saving, no advising, no setting each other straight.
- Speak using “I” statements rather than “you” statements.
- Listen from the heart. Listen without judgment. Don’t prepare what you are going to say when you listen. Develop empathy. The success of council is largely determined by the quality of listening in the circle. If you find yourself growing restless and bored in council, you’re probably not listening devoutly. Listening from the heart is energizing even if the speaker is inarticulate, dull, or the topic is not your cup of tea.
- Be lean. Say what needs to be said. Avoid tangents and repetition. But say everything that needs to be said. Give everyone a chance to speak. Notice if you are speaking more than others. Notice those who aren’t speaking and make sure there is space for them. Council allows us to improve our ability to be concise and to find words and images that bring life to our stories and statements.
- Be spontaneous. Don’t rehearse. Let the intuitive voice speak. Find the voice of the circle. Will speaking this serve me? Will speaking this serve the circle? Will speaking this serve the greater good?
- Keep confidentiality. Council requires safety. If an appropriate level of confidentiality is not maintained, everyone has to spend a lot of time repairing damaged feelings and getting the council going again.