Re: Talking Stick

Daniel Aronson (
Wed, 26 Oct 1994 00:01:45 +0059 (EDT)

I had some experience with the talking stick concept at UC Berkeley, and
it seemed to have drawbacks when passed around the circle (if there was no
mechanism for someone to speak out of order) because often someone who
had either already gone or whose turn was a long time away had something
to say but could not say it for quite a while. Passing it has the
advantage of making sure that all participate, though - any ideas for
balancing this with its possible drawbacks?

On Tue, 25 Oct 1994, Richard Karash wrote:

> I know the "talking stick" from seeing it used. The only background I
> know is that American Indian cultures used it. Can anyone add more?
> It's effect is to slow down conversation so everyone can think and listen,
> pay more attention to each other, create more of a dialog and less of a
> competition. From my experience with Synectics, I know that in typical
> conversations, people put a lot of mental energy into how to break into
> the flow and don't listen to each other. Talking stick addresses this. It
> was very effective.
> Here's the protocol I've seen:
> Everyone sit in a circle. Put an object (the "talking stick") on a table
> in the center. Take the stick and explain this protocol --
> "Whenever you want to talk, walk over and take the stick, return to your
> place and talk as long as you want. When you're done, return the stick
> to the center.
> "There may be periods of silence; these are likely to be helpful so don't
> worry about them."
> Return the stick and wait for things to start.
> Passing the stick in turn, as Mike Gurstein described, also seems like an
> effective approach.
> On Sat, 22 Oct 1994, Richard Karash wrote:
> > Would someone familiar describe the talking stick? How to... and how it
> > affects conversation? I've been impressed by the impact I've seen in a
> > couple of instances.
> >
> > On Sat, 22 Oct 1994, Mike Gurstein wrote:
> >
> > > ... it appears that it is my turn with the talking stick.
> >