Overcome the Awkward Silence

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Discussions during meetings can be feast or famine. Either you can’t get a word in edgewise or no one speaks up. Next time your meeting falls silent, try these tactics:

  • Let it be. Wait a moment before breaking the silence and offering a suggestion. The group may need time to reflect on an idea.
  • Name it. Call out what’s happening, and ask the group about it, “It seems we’ve gone quiet. Does anyone want to talk about what’s going on?”
  • Take a break. Sometimes a short break gives people the chance to refocus.

Adapted from Guide to Making Every Meeting Matter.

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