In life, there are two kinds of people: those who participate, and those who don’t. I’ve always counted myself in the former category. It’s partially about enjoying the sound of my own voice, partially about my preference for working through concepts out loud, but it’s mostly about my guilt when a presenter or teacher looks helplessly out over the crowd and finds no response.
I’ve been that person waiting for someone to participate. I’ve listened to uncomfortably long silences after asking questions. It isn’t fun. To give other people thinking time, I like to chime in and rattle away for a few seconds. It’s kind of self-sacrificing, if you think about it.
And while I may not always participate for the “right” reasons, I do participate. And this attitude has paid off. I stand out in classrooms and at trainings and seminars in a positive way. I refuse to give in to the apathy that surrounds me. I take advantage of opportunities. I’m a participator.
Without people like me, all learning would be done lecture-style or in rooms that were as silent as they are full. Maybe I sound a little bit full of myself, and I readily admit that this quality about myself is one of my favorite.
But what are the rest of you silent people waiting for? I get that you need time to process. Maybe you feel anxiety about speaking in front of a group. But the important thing is that you do take the risk. So go on, put your hand up and try participating. You might even like it.