The fishbowl

By andrea tomkins in Misc. I know what works for me. I know they work because if I drop the ball, I feel it.

The fishbowl

Method s [ edit ] The arrangement of chairs in The fishbowl fish bowl session. Four concentric rings of chairs surround a smaller group of five chairs.

An arrow indicates how any member of the audience may enter the middle section. Four to five chairs are arranged in an inner circle.

This is the fishbowl. The remaining chairs are arranged in concentric circles outside the fishbowl.

The fishbowl

A few participants are selected to fill the fishbowl, while the rest of the group sit on the chairs outside the fishbowl. In an open fishbowl, one chair is left empty. In a closed fishbowl, all chairs are filled.

The moderator introduces the topic and the participants start discussing the topic. The audience outside the fishbowl listen in on the discussion.

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In an open fishbowl, any member of the audience can, at any time, occupy the empty chair and join the fishbowl. When this happens, an existing member of the fishbowl must voluntarily leave the The fishbowl and free a chair. The discussion continues with participants frequently entering and leaving the fishbowl.

Depending on how large your audience is you can have many audience members spend some time in the fishbowl and take part in the discussion.

The fishbowl

When time runs out, the fishbowl is closed and the moderator summarizes the discussion. An immediate variation of this is to have only two chairs in the central group. When someone in the audience wants to join the two-way conversation, they come forward and tap the shoulder of the person they want to replace, at some point when they are not talking.

The tapped speaker must then return to the outer circles, being replaced by the new speaker, who carries on the conversation in their place.

In a closed fishbowl, the initial participants speak for some time. When time runs out, they leave the fishbowl and a new group from the audience enters the fishbowl. This continues until many audience members have spent some time in the fishbowl.


Once the final group has concluded, the moderator closes the fishbowl and summarizes the discussion. Advantages[ edit ] An advantage of a fishbowl conversation is that it is suitable for large groups.

It also lessens distinctions between the speakers and the audience. This has made fishbowls popular in participatory group meetings and conferences.

Issues[ edit ] This is not a forum where introverted or shy people will be inclined to contribute.

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To include them, it is possible to break the dialog down into much smaller groups to make them feel comfortable to discuss a topic. Variations[ edit ] The group can be split into two smaller and distinct subgroups such as men and women, or older and younger participantswho convene separately and come up with three to four questions for the other group, which are written on cards.

The participants reconvene and exchange cards, and form two circles, one subgroup inside the other, both of them facing inwards.Conversations about work just got interesting.

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