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Group Practices: Silence

Many group protocols that rely on deep listening expect that members of the group will maintain a respectful silence when an individual is speaking or preparing to speak. This kind of silent listening is observed in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting or a Friends worship meeting. If a speaker falls silent because they are organizing their thoughts or are experiencing a deep emotion triggered by what they are saying, listeners keep the silence with them rather than jumping into the void.

One facilitor interviewed for the Group Magic study established a several minute silence to be observed after each participant in the group shared their story. She found that the silence had a "holding" quality that was powerful for her. In it there was both an acknowledgement of each other's individuality and the reflection people saw of themselves in one another's stories. See Story.

SOURCE: Renee Levi, Group Magic interviews. See Renee's Profile

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