According to some research the internet culture is made up of 80%. lurkers, 9% contributors, and 1% creators. Others have used this research to look at online communities. The percentages may vary a little, but the message is the same. And the same findings often apply to meetings, workshops, and other areas of life.
Most of us lurk. We’re either bored and do not care or we’re afraid. Afraid of what others may think or say. But also many of us have been taught not to speak our opinions. Not to share our beliefs as it is arrogant. However, having an opinion or an assertion about the way things are and the change you would like to see is not arrogant. It is necessary. It is human.
Not listening to others’ assertions, not learning from them, and seeing interactions as competitions in which you need to ‘win’ by converting them to your opinion is arrogant. And unhelpful. But having assertions and opinions are necessary for conversations and for making the world a better place.
So bring your opinions and assertions. Speak them out. Generously share them. AND encourage others to do the same. And listen to them. Listen for overlaps, similarities, differences, and new insights. Ask questions to clarify, to understand more, and to learn a different perspective.
This is what meetings and workshops can do better than anything else. If we let them.
The choice is up to us.