Many people are uncomfortable with silence. As a facilitator, it is important to become friends with silence and not feel compelled to fill awkward pauses.
I’ve learned that lesson a while back: Holding the silence used to be hard for me. I like to talk. I’m a chatty person. Shutting up is difficult for me. Letting silence be. Enduring it. It helped me to count from 10 to 20 in my head and to start over when I had reached 20.
If you look at people with attention and fully expecting them to continue talking, they will talk again. Even if, technically they have already said something about the issue. And that is when the magic happens!
Very interesting things happen when you don’t fill an awkward silence with chatter. You’ll hear things that others don’t readily come forward with. These are often newer or more controversial thoughts – Not surface level, not something they will readily share with anyone. Finding out about these deeper or more cautious thoughts is super valuable. You can work on concerns and keep issues from festering.
It’s magical. Enjoy the silence! Make it work for you 🙂
PS: Did you know there's a Retromat eBook Bundle? Ready-made retrospective plans for beginners and all activities from Retromat for experienced facilitators. Check out the Retromat books