I had a week filled with words. In the large meetings, words were pushed around between the silences. In the small ones, we rushed breathlessly from overlaps to interruptions. From barely enough words to scrape over the space to too many, crowded and pushed in to each other.

These formats and occasions have a purpose beyond just the perfunctory task of completion. The contrast between the two experiences speaks to the gap in communication and the power of personal connection. What is subtext in a large group is the text for the follow-up conversation — the unsaid revealed, revisited. In an intimate conversation, I trust my speaking partner with my words, to hear them and keep a safe space for us to explore and dig into an idea together. How do we see each other, commiserate together, solve problems? Through our words.