How To Take Part
in a Basic Empathy Circle

In a Circle of 3 to 5 Participants



1. The first person selects who they will speak to;


2. they speak about whatever comes up for them for a set time… (typically three to five minutes )


3. the listener reflects back what they are hearing until the speaker feels heard and understood to their satisfaction.


The Roles

4. Then it is the listener’s turn to select who they will speak to and for that new listener to reflect back what they are hearing.

5. Everyone helps hold the circle process by monitoring & sticking to the steps.

The dialog continues around the circle like this for the time allotted.


Speaker Tips

* Pause often to give the listener a chance to reflect what they heard.

* When you are done talking and you feel heard, you can say “I’m fully heard” to indicate that you are done with your turn.

Active Listener/Reflector

* In your own words reflect back the essence of what you hear the speaker saying.

* Refrain from asking questions, judging, analyzing, detaching, diagnosing, advising or sympathizing. When it’s your turn to speak, you can say anything you want.

* You may ask the speaker to pause periodically so you can reflect what you heard.

Silent Listeners

* Listen and be present to the exchange between the speaker and active listener/reflector. You will soon have a turn to actively listen and speak.

The group may choose to have a discussion topic or question to address in the circle.

The two main criteria from Marshall  Rosenberg are:
1. Are you speaking and acting from your own experience? aka: It’s not about “fixing” someone else.
2. Is your practice of NVC contributing to well-being? aka: Do No Harm (“Ahimsa”)
..::”I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.
~ Gus Speth ♡

EC Timers:

Helpful Empathy Circle Info by Edwin Rutsch :

Time Zones