How do I get everyone to contribute in a team meeting?

When it comes to team discussions and wanting to get everyone to contribute I often hear leaders frustrated because either one person talks all the time or someone never talks.

So the first question to ask yourself is when you want them to contribute to the team meeting what kind of contribute is that contribute?

Does that contribute have a size or shape?

Where is contribute when it is like that?

What determines “contribute”?

How do you know contribute?

Being clear about what you mean is essential to achieving your outcome.

The reason for asking this is because for the best part most leaders are happy to talk, so just check in with yourself are you evaluating contributing as being someone that talks.

Are there any other ways people can or are contributing to your meetings?

What happens before the meeting?

Is there a relationship between what happens before and contribute?

There are talkers, the people who talk to think. There are reflectors those that think to talk.

In relation to contribute, what happens after the meeting?

When the whole team contributes then what happens?

8 Simple Steps to Discussion Success.

Step 3 of the Power Group Discussion Model is set up.

Try asking yourself these questions and see what you come up with.

For my team meetings to be just the way I would like them to be they would be like what?

For a team meeting to be like….(insert some key words from your response above) I need to be like what?

For a team meeting to be like ( your answer) and for me to like ( your answer) what kind of resources or support will you need?

Now you know this information can you share this with your team?

If not what needs to happen for you to be able to share this with your team?

Take a moment to write down or consider your response.

Is there a relationship between you not being able to share this and not all your team contributing at team meetings?

I don’t know so I am not implying anything, remember I don’t know you or your team.

It is a question for you to challenge your own thinking, to gain clarity and focus about what is happening now and what you would like to have happen.

You can also send these questions to your team prior to the meeting and ask them to send them back to you. Giving you some insight into what they need from the meeting.

Or you can ask the set up questions of each person at the beginning of the every team meeting.

Are you communicating an expectation that their thoughts matter, that you want to hear what they think?

Is it safe for them to say what they think without put down or judgement?

If you are someone who listens to a response then says “yeah but………” out loud or in your head then people can decide their is no point speaking.

So how do you get everyone to contribute in a team meeting?

How do you lead a team meeting effectively?

Demonstrate it, is the simple answer. From the way you invite everyone, from the way the agenda is formed and from the way the meeting is delivered. Demonstrate it.

Who writes your agenda? Does everyone contribute?

Do you ask everyone a question at some point in the meeting?

Are you listening and more interested in some responses compared with others or do they all gain equal attention?

Do you involve everyone in the set up and the follow up?

One way to set up the expectation that everyone is to share their thoughts is by providing the same amount of time for each person to speak and advising them in advance.

You can have a grid on a flip chart one for each person including you, all the same size where you will have their name against and you write their words as they speak, when it is full you stop and ask someone else. Again telling them in advance before you start. You will notice the talkers will be more concise knowing their space is limited and for those that don’t talk much you may have to ask some of “the questions that make the difference” to help them expand their answers and give you and them more understanding.

It is not always easy to express in a written document ‘HOW’ to ask the questions I have attempted below to show where the emphasis should be.

For THIS meeting…(pause/take a breath) … to be just the way YOU would like IT to be,….(pause/take a breath)  IT would be like………..(gap)  WHAT?

The capitals have more about emphasis, you are not shouting them.

Recognise your learning

What do you know NOW as a result of reading this, that perhaps you did not know before?

What difference does knowing that make, if any?

Plan your next best step

What would you like to have happen next?

Can you?

Please share your comments below we love to listen

Thanks for listening


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