Silence to Think and Re-energize

Many people are afraid of sitting in silence with a group in a Zoom room. Don’t be afraid. Silence can be extremely helpful and needed if timed well.

Here are reasons to design for silence:

  • to give people time to think
  • to make space for off-screen work before coming to the large group
  • to consider content, ideas, or a plan that was just offered
  • to give people a break from all the talk
  • to energize – both introverts and extroverts will need this from time to time

Consider the examples below and imagine how you might use each of them:

EXAMPLE #1 – at the start of a synchronous session 

“To help get us ready to work together on our action plan, let’s take some solo time to consider the desired state. Take 3 minutes to draw the new (improved) reality for our team as a result of our work today…. After we are finished, we will all hold up our drawings and hear a few words from each person. This is not a test of your artistic ability – have fun with it!”

EXAMPLE #2 – after a presentation

“We are now going to hear from [name]. As you listen, consider these two questions…. Now take 3 minutes to write your thoughts to in the Chat box. Let’s see how this pushes our thinking and work on [project].”

EXAMPLE #3 – after a presentation 

“[Name] just offered us a lot to think about. Before diving into dialogue in breakout rooms, let’s take 3 minutes to jot down some thoughts to these two questions: [questions]…. Now please share your thoughts in a group of 5 in a breakout room. We will hear one [idea] when we are back together in the large group.”

EXAMPLE #4 – at the end of your session 

“Before we all head our separate ways, take 2 minutes to consider all we discussed together. What words of wisdom or caution can you offer the leadership team to further this work? …. [After the 2 minutes] Please offer your words of wisdom or caution in the Chat box.”

What ways have you used silence to re-energize?

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Jeanette Romkema (jeanette@globallearningpartners.com) is GLP Senior Partner and Vision & Strategy Leader. Here are more GLP blogs by Jeanette.

Download this tip sheet and get more tips for working virtually here.

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