This modification of open conversation in a small group (2-30 people) can help it have some of the benefits of a formal Talking Circle without the constraints. It is best done with the group sitting in a circle.
You will need a chime (or a gong) and a stone (or other Talking Circle object) placed where all participants can easily reach them, usually in the center of the circle. If needed, explain their purpose to the participants.
THE CHIME: If at any time one of the participants feels the group needs to slow down, center itself or move to a "heart space," they reach into the middle of the circle and strike the chime or gong. All talking stops immediately until the sound fades. Often the silence extends for a minute or more. When conversation begins again, it usually has a more centered, reflective quality.