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Interview Questions

Questions to ask during the interview phase of the Design section.  
Also questions for class 2 research section.
  • What was your experience of the Empathy Circle?
  • What areas did you have trouble with and why?
  • What areas worked well and why?
  • What did do you wish was different?
  • Try asking “why?” 5 times to your partner's answers.  etc.  
  • What would you like to get out of your participation of this process?
  • What was your experience of the parts of the circle?
    • Intention
    • Intention Candle
    • Self-Connection
    • Empathic listening 
      • the opening questions
    • Felt Sense and Movement
    • blowing out the Intention Candle

  1. How might we harvest more of the ideas and experiences from the empathic listening dialog?
  2. Would you be ready to facilitate an empathy circle with family, friends, etc.
  3. What would be a good opening question for the empathy circle? why?


  1. If you were designing an empathy circle, how might you do it?

  2. Are there any people for whom you think this would *not* work? If so, how could their needs be better met?

  3. What kind of potential do you see with an online listening circle for increasing empathy?

  4. How to get people who don’t value empathy to recognize its value?

  1. Edwin: Did you feel any discomfort or anxiety at the beginning of the workshop and why?

  2. Wendy:  How did you feel after sharing during the empathy circle?

  3. Lee-Anne: How vulnerable did you feel in the empathy circle?

  4. Chase: Do you think empathy circles will work for everyone?

  5. Lewis: What’s it like to active listen and repeat back what the speaker is telling you?

  • Do you still remember the talk?

  • Where could you imagine to use this method?

  • Was it hard for you to follow the person you interviewed?

  • Was it hard for you to not let your thoughts/own experience pop into your mind when you listened to someone?

  • When was the last time you had to apply empathetic listening?

  • Did you miss visualization in this process?

  1. How might we mitigate the perceived discomfort of repeating speaker’s words in empathic listening?

  2. Being missed can create dissonance how can we create more synchronization and resonance?

  3. What makes you feel good when you are trying empathy circle?

  4. When obstacles to connection arise, what would be an agreed upon way of turning toward/including that?

  1. Why is empathy important to you? Try asking “why?” 5 times to your partner's answers.   Did the empathy circle address your intention?  Why or why not? how?

  2. What would it look like to bring an empathy circle to k12 educational settings?

  3. Why does empathy help people to feel heard in a way regular conversation struggles to?

  4. Why isn't empathy popular?

  5. How would empathic education impact our schools?  Our community?

  1. Do you feel that the Circle/you achieved what it/you set out to achieve?

  2. What are some advantages and disadvantages using technology as the media of Empathy Circle?

  3. How would you keep the process assertive and effective without making it “stuck/ frozen” and repetitive pattern?

  4. How can we incorporate people’s different channels of ’expression and approaching” delicate issues?

  5. What would be an effective way to break the ice! Remove initial anxiety around sharing with strangers...

  1. How did you feel when you were speaking? and when you were listening?

  2. What was your favorite moment during the Empathy Circle and why?

  3. How might we close the perception gap and reflect back the feeling accurately?

  4. What went wrong in the empathy circle?

  1. What would you do differently now?

  2. Will you use this prototype this month with another group?

  3. how was having technical and audio problems? and what was it like having someone come in late to the circle?

  1. Why does the empathy circle seem to remove focus from our emotions and what are the effects of that?

  2. How might we diversify the empathy circle so that repetitions yield a different experience for participants?

  3. What do you think the goals are of an Empathy Circle and do you feel they are being accomplished?

  4. How might the experience be different if it was not an empathy circle about empathy circles?

  5. Why is emotion important to empathy?

  6. How might we tap into and connect with the deeper feelings of participants in the empathy circle?


  1. How might we connect and understand better during the empathic listening?

  2. What rules do you make up about the Empathy Circle?

  3. How did you feel about Andreas “jumping in and out” at the beginning?

  4. What was a challenging moment for you?

  5. How can you improve your empathy in the empathy circle discussion?

  6. What does it feel like when you are not fully heard in a reflection and it is hard for the person to really hear you?  What do you do, just give up and say you are heard even if you are not heard.?

  1. What expectations did you have of the empathy circle? How different was the experience in reality?

  2. How can we acknowledge our roles as members of larger groups in the Empathy Circle (e.g. gender, race)?

  3. Are there any methods to be more creative in understanding others views in an empathic circle

  4. What was the most enjoyable moment of the empathy circle and why?

How might we redesign the Empathy Circle to be more fun and engaging in education for high school students?

  1. lee-anne: would role playing in ec’s be fun/engaging? why? how?

  2. chase: Why do you think high school kids wouldn't be interested in ac EC

  3. Lewis: How could we get a group of teenagers together to participate in an EC?

  4. wendy:  how did you feel after being part of the empathy circle?

  5. edwin: What problems are high school students dealing with and how might an empathy circle help with those?