[OSList] Please describe your experience of silence in Open Space events and Happy New Year!

Lisa Heft - via OSList oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Fri Jan 2 14:24:15 PST 2015

Silence in Open Space

Here are some of the things I think about:
Their work
Their words
Their abilities
Their capacities
Their challenges
Their discoveries
Their issues
Their opportunities
Their conflict
Their resolution
Their transformation
Their shifts
Their readiness

Not yours.

Support = belief.  

When in doubt: shut up. Do less. 

Not all dialogue is about talking.

Welcome internal dialogue.
Welcome reflection.
Welcome silence.
Welcome the spaces within the silence.
Welcome the witnesses.
Welcome what you cannot see or measure.

My experience while facilitating Open Space is that the silent moments nurture me and nurture the participants, and are filled with nutrition, possibility and wisdom.
However I do not create silent moments as an addition, as assistance, as an intervention, or as an extension of what I myself might want or need.

I do not rush or shorten the agenda co-creating time as to do so rewards only the quick-responders instead of also including the reflective thinkers - the full diversity of thinkers.
So the agenda co-creation time includes lovely silence full of possibilities and opportunities in addition to participants’ naming and moving and posting.

And there are times when as a facilitator I need to take a quiet walk, to notice what is outside the room, outside in the world, and to bring those thoughts back with me into the room. Although I do not do anything about them. I just bring them inside of me.

My experience as a participant in Open Space is that my stepping away for my own silent reflection - including when I transcribe the notes I have taken over in the Newsroom - rejuvenates me and helps me decompress from the overstimulating yet nutritious environment.

As a participant, often I do take notes - just as someone else might do knitting - to ‘ground’ myself in my body, to be able to listen and absorb more, to be more fully present. And then I take those notes over to the Newsroom and reflect, and further integrate my experience, and think how I might now write my notes in a slightly different way that make the learning I was lucky to be present for as accessible to the person who did not sit in that particular group as it was to me, the fortunate person who got to sit there and ask questions and interact with the learning. 

After I facilitate I need protein, and liquid, and silence. Lots of silence.

What are other peoples’ experiences with silence in Open Space?


On Dec 31, 2014, at 8:56 PM, Carmela Ariza via OSList <oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> wrote:

> Dear colleagues
> Happy new year to all!
> I would like to ask all about your experience of silence in OST - please describe your experience of silence while facilitating or as a participant in an open space event. I will put together all responses and share it again with the rest of the OSList subscribers… 

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