Group discussions can move quickly and shift between topics with ease. Keeping people focused on a conversation will challenge even the most experienced facilitators. People need to be given space to explore but also need to be aware of the limits.
A conversation may twist and turn or stop and stall. And then it will pick back up and change speeds. A faster pace may indicate excitement and a downshift may signal that an important point is going to be made. In this context silence is not something to be afraid of and it should be welcomed.
The moment that a conversation stops is when the most impact can be made. The next person that speaks can push the direction one way or another. The right word at the right time can bring the conversation to a close or open it up to new possibilities. A moment of silence is an inflection point.
Anticipating when this next moment will occur typically requires more listening and less talking.