Re: Using Silence in Meetings LO2821

Richard Karash (
Thu, 14 Sep 1995 21:04:05 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO2737 --

On Mon, 11 Sep 1995 wrote:

> BTW has anyone used extended periods of silence as a way to open a
> meeting? What were the contexts and what were the outcomes?

Here's another example (almost):

Way long ago, when my daughter was in nursery school, we enjoyed a
particularly skilled teacher.

One of her tricks was to avoid raising her voice above the general din
that a group of 3-year olds can make. She said, "I speak quietly; they
have to slow down and quiet down themselves to hear me." This was
wonderfully effective.

Thinking about this now, there's a dynamic loop, the level of one voice
affects the level of another. It's easy for this to be reinforcing, when
several people are struggling to break into a stream of talk. I think a
similar thing happens with pacing of speech; fast speech --> more fast
speech. As a facilitator, I purposely modulate my loudless and pacing to
affect the group; louder and faster is seldom better.

The ending of the nursery school story: She was so good at handling the
kids (and us) that I hired her when she decided to change careers.

         Richard Karash ("Rick") |  <>
     Innovation Associates, Inc. |    email:
 3 Speen St, Framingham MA 01701 | Host for Learning-Org Mailing List
 (508) 879-8301 and fax 626-2205 |     <>