Fishbowl your meetings

By June 27, 2017March 13th, 2018No Comments

‘Fishbowl’ is a technique often used in large gatherings, so that discussion can be focused using a smaller number of participants.

Here’s what it looks like: 

Fishbowl aim:

To focus discussions when there’s a large group, so that everyone has a chance to contribute. This allows for different points of view and minimises any tendencies toward groupthink. You alter the format slightly to make it work for smaller meeting groups.

Fishbowl instructions:

  • Seat five people in the centre of your ‘fishbowl’ with other chairs for the audience seated around the five chairs in a circle.
  • The people in the ‘fishbowl’ will participate in a discussion on a topic given by the facilitator. The audience is passive and watches on.
  • Set a time for the discussion (eg. 5 mins).
  • Continually change the five people in the centre (and possibly topics) until everyone has had a turn.
  • Alternatively, you can do this as an ‘open fishbowl’, leaving one of the five chairs free so people can volunteer to join the discussion when they want to. If this happens, one of the other four participants must voluntarily leave the discussion so there’s always a spare chair to welcome new participants with something to say.
  • You can allocate an audience member to be a moderator and/or notetaker, if necessary.

Fishbowl resources:

  • Topics for discussions
  • Five chairs for the ‘fish bowl’
  • Other chairs for the audience participants

If you’ve got any good tips and strategies for meetings that work for your business, we’d love to hear from you!

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As follow-up, participants apply what they learn and leaders coach using the coaching cards provided, offering feedback to improve both team and individual performances. In due course, participants discuss what has changed, improvements or continued ‘roadblocks’ with their leader.

Follow up

(period defined by the business, with reflection and discussion)

A 5-hour workshop where we look at how leaders can work with teams on motivating, coaching and setting standards in effective ways.


Participants see how important communication and collaboration is when getting results. They learn how to work with each other to build positive store culture and design effective systems and processes.

Workshop 3

(5 hours, face to face)

As part of pre-work, each participant completes a survey that highlights what aspects of customer experience they’re comfortable with and what needs work. This influences the design of the program and its priority areas.


(30 minutes, online)

A 5-hour workshop where we work through the fundamentals of an outstanding customer experience from end-to-end.


Participants learn more about their ‘ideal customers’ and the typical journeys they go through, and how to design experiences that work for these customers.

Workshop 1

(5 hours, face to face)

A 5-hour workshop where we align the values, behaviours and actions required for an outstanding customer experience.


Participants see how to embed the values and behaviours of their business in practical ways – to improve customer interactions and promote long-term loyalty.

Workshop 2

(5 hours, face to face)

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