At a recent strategic planning session I facilitated, participants loved the globe-like metal objects I placed on the tables. Their enthusiasm inspired me to share ideas and activities about these objects that I have used for many years as an aid to thinking, listening, and conversing.
The object is a beautiful 3-dimensional wire globe I bought from Ten Thousand Villages. It is based on the word mandala http://www.mandalaproject.org/What/Main.htmlwhich is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit and loosely means “circle” and represents “whole world” or “healing circle”.
Ways to use the Globe in Facilitation
The globe is often used to focus attention and guide meditation. I find it useful as a tool during facilitated conversations. Here are a few of the ways that I use these objects.
- I explain connection of the globe with the origin and symbolism of the mandala, describing its origin in Sanskrit language and its use in some religions. This honours the spiritual significance that may be attached to it by individuals.
- A fun and tactile toy: At times, I simply place the globes on the tables and let participants enjoy them and benefit from changing the shape, if they are tactile learners. They are fun to hold, to manipulate, to move.
- A conversation creativity method: I give a globe to each participant and encourage them to play with it. We change it to represent different shapes: e.g. oceans and skies, dualities of life (day and night, man and woman), drum (symbolic of communication), lotus (symbolic of transformation). This helps participants think differently.
- A reflection technique:
- A metaphor for change: I invite participants to change the object into different shapes, and with each shape, explain how it relates to the change that they or their organization may be considering. This discussion can last 15 minutes to several hours.
- An emotion outlet: I invite participants to shape the globe to show their emotions about a topic or the status of the discussion, e.g. an open shape to convey interest or enthusiasm, a flat shape to convey concern or disinterest.
If you are interested in more ways to use a the wire globe in facilitation, please contact me for resources and ideas.