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Speak Up: Creating Space For Equitable Group Conversations Among Strangers
Finding the right moment to speak in a group conversation can be difficult. Participation depends on the size of the group, the existing conversation norms, and the difference in background and expertise among group members. Group settings pose challenging terrains for determining when to speak and for how long. Using a conversation tool developed by the startup this&that, we tell participants exactly when and how long to speak for during group conversations with strangers. We look at whether setting equal conversation norms during an initial conversation topic spills over to the next conversation topic, when the tool is removed. We find that, compared to participants who never interacted with the tool, participants who interacted with the tool in their first conversation topic displayed more equal speaking time in the subsequent conversation topic; they also reported feeling more comfortable speaking up, expressing their opinions, and had greater feelings of equality.