07 Mar Slice of Life: Help Me Interpret the Silence #SOL19 #TWTBlog
You know that moment. You are in front of a group, be it colleagues, parents or students, and they appear to be completely disengaged. They are not sharing, making eye contact or laughing when you planned for them to laugh. Your mind races:
- Am I boring them?
- Am I being unclear?
- Have I misunderstood how they wanted to use the time?
- Did I somehow offend the group?
All you want to do is run and hide, but you can’t. Instead, try this simple phrase:
HELP ME INTERPRET THE SILENCE
Here is how it works. When all seems to be lost and you have tried everything …you stop, look the group head on and say, “You are all being very quiet. Please, help me interpret the silence.” Then let the silence hang in the air. Wait them out. If no one says anything, have them turn and talk with a partner and then share out. I have never had a group not share what is going on when I use this strategy.
I love it because it addresses an issue without being confrontational. It lets the group know you are aware that something is off and you care to make the experience different for them. I always want to respect the time, feelings and point of view of the group. I can’t do that if I don’t know what they are thinking.
Next time you find yourself in this situation… give it a try. I would love to hear how it goes!
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers, and teachers here.