Techniques in Action

We love to hear from our past training participants – especially when they have tried a new technique.

Mark Busse (HCMA Architecture + Design, Vancouver) recently used a Socratic Circle to gather input on a land use planning project.  Here is what Mark had to say about the technique:

“There were 30 people representing various stakeholder groups, most of whom didn’t know each other and some in the room had some strong opinions resulting in some anxiety. The format helped minimize conversation domination and made space for typically soft-spoken people, who loathe public speaking, to participate.”

Mark went on to say that after the two rounds of the Socratic Circle, they ended with a productive dialogue with the entire group.

While not part of the IAP2 Techniques manual, Socratic Circles are one of the many additional techniques we often talk about in the Techniques for Effective Public Participation module.  Originally used as a teaching method, this variation on the revolving conversation uses dialogue to tackle complex, polarized and sometimes emotional subjects.  A web search will provide some interesting articles on this technique.