It’s every facilitator’s dream to have full meeting participation and engagement. Is this possible? Is this something we have control over? YES! You set the tone and expectations of your meeting, and you have more control of participation and engagement than you think. Below are a few ways to encourage participation by all group members, that are sure to get your team involved and sharing during your next meeting.
How to Encourage Meeting Participation:
Set the TONE at the beginning of the meeting
Why not start the meeting off with a great icebreaker? Get everyone involved right from the start. This lets your team know right away that there won’t be any slacking or team members hiding in the back row. Setting expectations before the meeting begins will set the tone for the rest of the day. Ask them to participate. Ask them to share. Ask them for their ideas. When your team knows meeting participation is expected they are a little more willing to engage and share. No one likes to disappoint! Need some help with finding an icebreaker? Check out a couple of my previous blog post tips:
Looking for an Icebreaker for you next meeting? or DIY Icebreaker Exercise
Provide ALTERNATIVE ways of participating
Not everyone responds well to being “called-out” in front of their peers, so try using different techniques to get your team open to communicating. Some great alternatives to calling out others are brainstorming out loud, breaking the team into smaller groups and discussing within a smaller, less intimidating group, going around the table, or quiet writing which you can share at a later time. Changing up the way you encourage engagement is a great way to get others to communicate.
Pull team members aside during a break and REQUEST participation
This might seem a little direct, but if your team isn’t as engaged as you’d like try asking someone, in private, to speak up. This might just be your best move. This allows you to request meeting participation without calling-out someone during the presentation. You know your team members and the ones that bring great ideas to the table, or communicate well. Asking them to speak up could be the “nudge” others needed to feel comfortable enough to speak up as well.
Do you have any meeting participation tips? Are there any techniques you use to encourage participation from team members? If so, please share! Your idea could help someone have their best meeting ever!