The one who shouts the loudest and talks the most is the one being heard. Whether it being in meetings, on e-mail or on social media. That is how opinions are shared, decisions are made and individuals ensure being heard. And most likely what all of us experience from early childhood – the loud children get attention in kindergarten, in school – the loud adolescences get attention at parties, team-oriented sport and at multiple other social events – a behaviour we bring with us to the workplace.
However, this is not facilitating a good environment in which employees get a chance to speak up, share their ideas and feel safe proposing solutions – especially not for individuals who are slightly more introvert or insecure. No matter whether you are introvert or extrovert, have you ever been thinking one of the following in a meeting or conversation:
When do I get the chance to say something?
I wish they knew, but I cannot say that
I want to share this, but what if he just yells at me like he did at my colleague?
Why don’t they stop arguing and interrupting each other, I don’t know what’s even being said anymore!
There are several other things along the line you might have been thinking. The point is – conversations and meetings today have too much noise, and too little effectivity: too many arguments and disagreements, too few compromises and solutions. How many meetings are actually beneficial? How often are you excited about meetings and optimistic about the outcomes of the meetings? The answer is often: not enough! Several professionals are trying to solve this in various ways – one of these ways is called silent co-creation, introduced by Bastian Overgaard in Denmark.
Bastian Overgaard spends time educating and empowering organisations on how silence can facilitate better collaboration and create greater decisions. Shocking? Unbelievable? Impossible? Bastian proposes that having just 1 minute of silence a few times during a meeting will make massive changes – and several big organisations in Denmark support it, saying this has contributed to employees speaking up, more confidence, better decisions, a greater team-work and higher effectivity in meetings. Thus, it is called co-creative silence. Just imagine how silence can improve the effectivity and climate in your team in HR!
Silence is as a co-creative tool can be used in all industries – to emphasise how great of an effect this type of silence can be, just look at the various sectors, working with Bastian, that testify to the positive change it facilitates:
Novo Nordisk (medical industry)
Region Midtjylland (health sector)
Copenhagen municipality (governmental sector)
Additionally, I can personally testify to it as well, as Bastian invited me to have minutes of silence on the mentor-meetings I’ve had with him. And having tried this myself, when I’ve been chairing meetings, I have experienced a great improvement in the content and quality of the meeting. So why don’t you try to incorporate silence in your meetings between the different topics to be discussed, letting people think, reflect and gather themselves to talk?