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Reading the Room

Can you read the room? How can you know if you’re reading the room? Can you be absolutely certain you’re reading the room?

I was recently gathered with a new group. I sat in silence for what felt like a long time as the others were deep in a conversation that I didn’t feel part of. I sat waiting for the subject to shift. After an hour or so I felt my ability to speak grew cold and my willingness to listen evaporated. I was not the only one sitting silently, arms crossed and disconnected. In my head, I wanted to say hey! please! read the room!

As the feeling of isolation grew up around me, I felt myself withdraw. I felt resentment, then irritation and finally, boredom. I rose and wandered away.

I realize I may be overly sensitive to reading the room. A large part of teaching is being able to sense if people are engaged? Are they listening? Has the energy dropped? Before you can read the room, you need to become aware that it is something you might want to consider doing.