By Karen Rodriguez, Exec|Comm Partner
As we approach the fourth quarter of the year, many companies are scheduling meetings to plan for 2016. To be successful, these meetings require brainstorming and employee participation. But, sometimes it can be difficult to engage shy or distracted employees.
Here are a few tips to encourage participation in your next business meeting.
Be sure to schedule your meeting at a time when you know employees will be focused. Don’t wait until right before lunch or the end of the day, when employees will be hungry or eager to leave the office.
Pause frequently, giving attendees time to think and an opportunity to speak up. Ask open-ended questions; questions that begin with what, how or why. This ensures you will get more than a “yes” or “no” answer and may give quieter employees the courage to speak up.
Break the monotony.
In brainstorming meetings, allow employees to break up into smaller groups to discuss key topics. This gives everyone a better chance to be heard. It also keeps individual attendees from dominating the meeting.
Summarize key points.
To make sure the meeting stays on track and to keep others engaged, summarize key points throughout the meeting.
Keep it short.
Even the most active participants can get bored after a lengthy meeting. Be sure to limit the length of your meetings and schedule multiple if more time is needed.
What are your tips for keeping employees engaged and participating in meetings? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author
As the manager of the Exec.Comm brand, marketing and design efforts, Karen Rodriguez oversees the firm’s identity, touching all aspects of the brand (online presence and web site, web-based learning center, advertising, PR, classroom materials, and live special events). She joined Exec-Comm in 1999, and entered the partnership in 2009. Karen introduced and manages the firm’s blog, The Chat, and launched the company's quarterly lunch and learn series: The Learning Exchange manages the company's open-enrollment seminars in New York and San Francisco. Karen holds a B.F.A. from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, and lives in Aberdeen, NJ, with her husband and three sons.