When Silence Isn’t Golden: Keeping Teleconference Participants EngagedBy Nancy Settle-Murphy Posted October 25, 2009
You ask a critical question that you had imagined would have inspired passionate conversation and spirited debate. Instead: Protracted silence. What do you do?
Here are some suggestions:
- First, check that you or someone else has not been disconnected from the conference call.
- Understand what’s behind the silence. Silence can indicate different things: distraction, lack of understanding or simply people taking the time to think.
- Check for understanding, then ask the question again. Be comfortable with the silence.
- Give your own input and then encourage input from the others.
- Call on someone you know is vocal to break the ice. Also call on people that are shy about speaking up.
- Ask for a check-in. Have the participants describe how they are feeling in one word.
- Explain that you are going to go “around the room”, asking each person in turn to respond to the question.
Posted by Nancy Settle-Murphy