Silence: What’s Going On?

If you are a teacher, a trainer, or facilitator you have learned the power of silence for learning and deepening dialogue.  When we have the visual cues of those sitting in front of us…a thoughtful look, a pencil scratching on paper, a shifting in seats…we can gauge when to break that silence.  However, in an online environment, there are very few of those cues to rely upon and you must learn to be comfortable with the silence and give participants plenty of time to think and respond.  What happens in those moments of silence?  Participants…

Thinking_Processing_Brain

  • think about the question or concept before them.
  • formulate an answer or response.
  • relocate or refamiliarize themselves with the online tool being used.
  • type their responses into chat, on a whiteboard, or share their thoughts via a poll.
  • edit for typos and misspellings.
  • filter their responses based on who else is participating and who else might see their post.

That’s a lot of processing and yet most of the time we give 30 seconds or less for folks to respond.  So what might feel like an eternity of silence to the presenter or facilitator in a participatory webinar…is fleeting moment of time for the participants.

See Silence: Rules of Thumb

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