The maturity of the group, its intentions, the frequency of meeting, and the human environment in which it functions are all-important in determining an appropriate confidentiality agreement. Here are a few general guidelines.
Determine the need to know. If a person outside the circle asks you questions about council business, ask yourself if he has a need to know. Perhaps he is a member of the community in which the council functions or the results of the circle's deliberations affect what he does. If the person has an authentic need to know, talk about the general conclusions the council reached. If there is no need to know, be direct and tell the questioner that the Council has an agreement about confidentiality and you'd prefer not to talk about its proceedings. Explain the difference between secrecy and confidentiality, if that issue arises.
Examine your motivations. If you find yourself telling someone, who has no clear need to know, about a recent council, ask yourself, Why am I talking? Am I motivated by self-importance? Am I gossiping? Is my integrity intact?
- Talk about topics, not personal stories. Identifying the topics and issues that have been discussed in a council is rarely a problem. However, if you suspect it may be, follow the first two guidelines. Retelling specific stories or comments and identifying the source is almost always a breach of confidence.
Stick to your own experience. If someone with a need to know asks you about a council, summarize your own experience, not another another's. If you have a desire to describe a council to a nonmember, stick to your own stories and comment.
- Stick to your own experience. If someone with a need to know asks you about a council, summarize your own experience, not another another's. If you have a desire to describe a council to a nonmember, stick to your own stories and comment.
- Invite the curious. If a person expresses a lot of interest in the council, invite her to witness the next session, as long as that is appropriate and the rest of the group agrees. Don't get into the habit of being someone’s source of information, even if she has a legitimate need to know.