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Supporting organisations to bridge the gap between strategy and action at moments of change, making sense and shaping conversations with Big Pictures.

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How can we nurture a safe space to be able to speak?

Chris Hayes

I am sitting in a meeting and there is silence from everyone but the leader of the session. They have asked a question and no-one is answering, why? When I think of my own experiences, when I don’t feel able to speak it is a very physical response to something that is unconsciously in the room. My voice literally cannot be pulled from me. It builds and swells deep in my stomach, but will go no further. A friend describes his as stopping in his throat. Yet neither of us can really articulate what exactly it is that stops us. There is something about that space that doesn’t make it safe to let my voice out. It is about the people in the room, the positioning of the meeting or session, the contradictions between meaning and what is spoken, the emotional state of the participants before they even enter the room.

In a moment of complete silence I wonder what other people’s reasons are for not speaking and what we could learn if we took a moment and were brave and inquisitive enough to explore them.