Re: Using Silence in Meetings LO2809

Emily Myers (
Thu, 14 Sep 1995 07:52:45 -0400

Replying to LO2795 --

As a Quaker, I am enjoying the exploration of the use of the powerful tool
of silence outside of the meetinghouse. Rick's description of breaking a
deadlock within a fractious group with silence brings to mind the Quaker
meeting for business. When a subject arises and concensus is not reached,
Friends retreat to silence. To act on an issue, consensus must be
reached, which means all must agree, not just a majority. It is slow and
sometimes painful, but when action is taken it is with full support of the

Like Senge's "Five", the discipline of silence takes practice and

Rick - Thanks again for your work as host. The vibrance of this list
reflects inspired leadership which brings out the best of all the

On Wed, 13 Sep 1995, Richard Karash wrote:

> I watched my friend and colleague Charlotte Roberts propose to a
> particularly tough group of know-it-alls that when stuck they should do
> three minutes of silence for individual reflection, then return to the
> debate with fresh thoughts and perspectives. "It'll seem like forever..."
> she warned. This group was troubled by ugly meetings, long arguments,
> hard to resolve disputes.
> The group reported later that this had been particularly effective,
> helped them find a breakthrough, get around an impasse.
> We were not able to track the group afterward, so I don't know if they
> kept up the practice.

            Emily R. Myers
            Mobius Project
  Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania 19317 US
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