I move from breakout room to breakout room. Some are engaged in feisty debate, but most are civilised conversation. However, there is at least one group which is silent. Not ‘you joined in the middle of a thinking pause’ but rather eerily silent. The kind of silent in which you know the unmute button has not been used before.
This happens on zoom but in person too. Perhaps it’s fear, lack of leadership or understanding, or perhaps it is lack of trust. Showing your work – whether your work is a sculpture, an idea, or an experience – is often scary. It often feels like a piece of you. And you don’t want to be rejected. However, the only way to improve is to show your work and listen to the feedback.
But perhaps the silence is also due to mindset and attitude. It is a waste of time or you know it all already. When that is us, drop off the call, leave the room, or go do something else. Everyone benefits when we do this.
Cracking engagement is astonishingly difficult. The best way to do it is to have people in the ‘room’ who want to be there. Perhaps that’s where we should start.