Circles are the key pillar of Lean In. Circles meet everywhere from living rooms to company cafeterias—and they are spreading from city to city and country to country by word of mouth. While we can’t guarantee you’ll achieve your wildest dream, we can promise that joining a Circle will give you the support to go for it. The best part is, they work: women in Circles are asking for more, stepping outside their comfort zones, and leaning in.
Why Join A Circle?
Circles provide community, accountability, and encouragement as your pursue your ambitions. Circles are your own board of directors as you strategize through opportunities and challenges in your career. Research shows that we are more confident and are able to learn and accomplish more in small groups.
What are Circles like?
Lean In Circles are groups of women that meet regularly to dig deeper into skill-building materials, grow together and support each other in achieving their ambitious goals. We encourage you to stick with it: Circles that meet for more than 6 months report higher satisfaction, and many Circles stay together—and support each other—for years.
Circles come in all shapes and sizes. To get the most out of your group, we recommend 8–12 members (a good size to make sure everyone gets heard) at similar stages in life (because peers are more likely to have shared experiences).
A Circle can be a monthly roundtable at your home, a brown-bag lunch series at work, or even a virtual meet-up with people from around the world. The important thing is that you get together regularly—and that everyone participates.
What do you do in a Circle meeting?
Whether you’re using materials provided by us or forging your own path, we recommend that all meetings generally follow this structure:
Kick off each meeting with an icebreaker or by sharing a personal update since your last meeting. Here are some ideas to get your members talking if they’re feeling shy:
- Share the best and/or worst thing that’s happened in your work or personal life since the last meeting
- Explain what you’re most looking forward to or most dreading in the coming month
- Complete a sentence like “Today I’m feeling” or “I most want to talk about”
2. Group discussion or activity
Circles harness the experiences and ideas of all their members. When planning each meeting, you can choose to focus on sharing personal stories, developing new skills by discussing articles or videos, or learning from the expertise of a guest speaker.
3. One action
Close meetings by committing to One Action—one concrete thing you’ll do to step outside your comfort zone or practice a new skill before your Circle’s next meeting. Think of your One Action as the little push you need to go for it, and be sure to share it with your Circle.
4. Wrap up
Before you break, make sure you have the basics covered for your next meeting and end on an inspirational note. Try going around one by one and describe how you’re feeling in three words. Best we’ve heard so far: “Ready for anything!”