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?
Jeanette Romkema (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
- Another resource you may enjoy. Considering Silence by Jane Vella.