So you’re ready to launch the meeting – maybe you even have one already scheduled.
It would be nice to think that if the objectives of a meeting are clear -- and the right people are there, and it’s facilitated well – that everyone would participate and that there would be no disruptions.
The reality is, however, that this isn’t always the case.
Here are some things the meeting leader can do (or avoid doing) to ensure participation:
- Ask open-ended questions like “What” and “How”
- Help the quiet people, asking them specific questions, or going around the table so everyone gets a voice.
- As the facilitator, be careful not to “grade” responses (i.e. "great idea"), as it may may discourage others from participating.
- Avoid speaking too much. The job of the meeting leader is to facilitate discussion. When you keep talking, others won’t.
- Manage participation. The meeting leader has the responsibility to keep things on track, and on time. That may mean managing stage hogs or other “derailers.”
Being able to stay on track while facilitating discussion is a critical skill to achieve meeting results.
Last week, I wrote about meeting launch tools. Next time, I’ll talk about the navigation phase of meetings.