The fishbowl method is an alternative to classical panel discussions. Participants and moderator(s) take a seat in a circle of chairs; a number of chairs remain unoccupied. Further guests take a seat on spectator chairs around this central circle. The discussion starts in the circle of chairs. Anyone on a spectator chair wishing to take part in the discussion takes a seat on a free chair in the central circle.
The method is suitable for smaller events, open discussion processes and for presenting and discussing work results in larger groups.
Advantages over classical panel discussions are:
- less polarisation between panel and audience
- less questions/answers, more joint discussion