Concluding the Day or Event: Closing Circle
Just as an opening circle can set a tone of community and collaboration for an event, a closing circle serves summarize what has been learned and what is possible moving forward.
An excellent way to start the closing circle is with another go-round. In this go-round, it works well to invite participants to share one of the following:
- Something they learned, especially an "ah-ha" or revelation
- An opinion or attitude that was changed
- A way in which they plan to apply their experiences from the event in their own organization.
It may be appropriate to hold a short brainstorming session on how to continue collaboration and momentum of the event; inviting participants to consider closing circle not as a conclusion but as a transition into future collaboration is an excellent metaphor.
It is also advisable to open the floor for several "popcorn"-style observations:
- Additional comments about the event and sessions
- Remaining questions or issues not resolved during the day
- Brief comments and quick announcements by participants (care should be taken to avoid "sales pitches" or other overly self-serving announcements)
Event organizers should be very sure offer extensive thank-you's while everyone is together at closing circle:
- Thank venue host and other providers of logistic support.
- Thank facilitators for their wisdom, efforts and contributions
- Thank the participants for taking the time to be present, remain present, and give so much to the event.
- Thank anyone else you can think of early and often.
At some point before or after closing circle, participants should fill out evaluation forms. See the section "Event Evaluation and Follow-up" for more information.
Closing circles are best when kept short and sweet; try to finish closing circle in a timely fashion and then directly adjourn to a post-event venue for beverages and extended socializing.