Encouraging meeting attendees to participate in discussion is a common struggle. Many attendees space out or avoid talking in large groups. Because lack of participation blocks productivity, you need to gain buy-in so attendees speak up more in meetings. Here are four ways to move the conversation forward.
Appropriately Prepare for the Meeting
Schedule it mid-morning or mid-afternoon, when attendees tend to be more alert and not watching the clock to see when they can leave. Keep the meeting under one hour with the content divided into short units of time. Additionally, hold a standing or walking meeting when possible, and, limit the number of invites. Start with core stakeholders, then move to advisors, consultants, employees and others who need to be there. Follow up with other team members through email.
Use Engagement Tools
Ask others to contribute to the content so they take ownership of their part and be primed to participate in the discussion. Also, regularly ask questions to direct attention to a specific idea and focus thinking. If you have a large group, break them down into pairs or small groups, assign tasks and ask each attendee to share what they learned. Reward attendees who participate in the conversation so, others feel encouraged to participate as well.
Engage Your Persuasive Powers
Encourage attendees to agree with something right away. They will be more likely to agree with your ideas and final proposal. Actively listen to and sympathize with attendees’ ideas and wants. Even if you introduced an idea, let them discuss it and validate their views so they think of the idea as their own, and ask questions to lead them in the direction you want. Explain background information on the idea you want to get across. Include data to back up your claims so attendees are more likely to move forward in your direction. Further, show respect at all times; Attendees will be more likely to feel comfortable expressing themselves and see things how you would like.
Move to the Final Outcome
Take a vote if you believe the majority agree with the decision you want. Also, offer only a few choices to encourage faster decision-making. If you want a quick decision, hold your meeting late on Friday and state that it will continue until a decision is reached. Participation will be elevated to move along the discussion.
Find Leaders Through Alliance Resource Group
As one of Southern California’s top accounting recruiters, Alliance Resource Group offers thorough interim, staffing and executive recruitment solutions for organizations of all sizes – from startups to the Fortune 100. We bring our high-touch, sophisticated screening process and unparalleled industry knowledge to every search, from interim professionals to C-level retained searches to temporary accounting operations needs.
We do this with Smarter Financial Recruiting – unparalleled professional accounting and finance recruiting, screening and matching.