November 4, 2009

Silence May Not Be Golden

Have you ever been in a business meeting where there have been people who have said nothing? Of course. If you know me, you know I'm never that guy. Ha!

They may quietly take notes, smile and seem to be paying attention.

They usually are, but as someone who is never short on conversation I find these people amazing yet puzzling.

Is it their choice to say nothing?
With strong personalities present, are they afraid to contribute?

It’s one thing to be polite and pay attention to a presentation but this is pointed at those who rarely if ever utter one word in any meeting. Perhaps you should wonder why they are in the meeting in the place or more importantly whether there is a deeper issue. Are great ideas being lost in the back of the room?

Some people prefer not to lead discussions or speak with ease and that’s okay. But in a co-creative workspace, it requires contribution from everyone.

It's important to decipher the reasons why they remain silent.

A common perpetrator is the highest ranking official in the room who makes it clear they are not interested in ideas or a democratic creative process.

I know this is shocking but some managers actually do not want others’ opinions. In other cases - though rare - those in management positions do not possess the skills or training to actually coach people.

Some people are shy, some are polite and some are respectful of authority. Some feel the only way to survive these types of situations is to sit quietly, nod and take notes.

Do you know the real reason for their silence?

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