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What is the 5 Second Rule?

The 5 Second Rule (as it's used in meetings) is a facilitation technique where you ask a question then wait a full 5 seconds before moving on. Once you get to 4 seconds, the silence becomes a little uncomfortable. It's just long enough for people to realize that you actually expect a response, and then think it through in their heads. At 5 seconds, people will start to speak up.

For example, when you ask "Are there any more questions?", wait silently for at least 5 seconds before speaking again.

Note: We learned the 5 Second Rule from Wayne Turmel, an American facilitator working with groups who get uncomfortable with short silences. Those working in other cultures may need more or less time to achieve the same results.

Wayne suggests counting 1 hippopotamus, 2 hippopotamus, etc silently to yourself to make sure you wait the full 5 seconds.
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