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5 ways to encourage your team to participate in meetings

5 ways to encourage your team to participate in meetings

Create a Warm Meeting Environment

Meetings cannot be productive without participants being willing to contribute to the exchange of ideas. An inviting atmosphere can help facilitate a positive tone . One issue involves the seating arrangement, with small round tables offering the greatest benefit. In the classroom-style setup, the relationship may be perceived in a negative light in terms of one’s position in the group and, by extension, the importance of their contribution. Ambient factors such as lighting and temperature should also be addressed. In a study by Levitt and West cited by Thompson , a moderately warm room’s temperature 22-24°C was found to contribute to the greater cooperation of group members.

Use Personalized Invitations

One-time personalized invitations have been demonstrated to pique interest and increase attendance. When the invitation minutes are sent out, I ensure that each team member receives a targeted email or message that reflects their individual value to the group . By referring to a past event in his career such as a project he attended, I may urge him to be present during future discussions.

Provide a Clear Agenda and Goals

However, if the goals of the meeting are unknown to the members, it can be no more efficient than gathering to discuss the weather and the pleasantness of the summer. An agenda must be sent ahead of time, with an ideal timeline of at least 24 hours, so that the meeting’s attendees have time to prepare . The issues to be addressed, their significance, estimated speed and individual engagement essentials make up the bulk of the information contained in the agenda.

Recognize and Reward Participation

The participation of members can be recognized as a means of increasing interest in meetings. Subsequently, the efforts of those in attendance can be acknowledged during or after the event. An email can highlight the points various team members have made in that email.erea during the meetings, or the results they have achieved at previous gatheringsrettI also believe that it is unwise not to mention any valuable advice, no matter how insignificant, in a note after a meeting. Alternatively, conference participants can organize a small award for their team or small group funding on the occasion of a holiday to celebrate the completion of a project.

Use Icebreaker Activities to Ease Tension and Encourage Conversation

Icebreakers are a great way to reduce social barriers and improve team-building. There’s nothing like a fun activity when you want to lighten the mood in a room of roomful of strangers, even if they know each other professionally. Most simple icebreakers are a great success; in particular, I am a fan of “Two truths and a lie”. The purpose of each participant is to say two true things about themselves and one false. The rest of the team is to guess which fact is a lie. Not only is the activity fun, but also it is an opportunity to learn many interesting things about the participants.

The Right Icebreaker

It is important to note that the icebreaker should be fun and relevant at the same time. For instance, a tech company can ask the team members to complete a tech trivia quiz first. That way, all the participants will learn more about the field while having quite a blast. In this day and age, the best way to start the meeting is to make it seem like there is a party in the room!

Regular Schedule

It is good to practice the use of icebreaker every now and then which is something that once-per-year team-building events do not offer. This way, the room will liven up every time the participants take their places for a meeting. Of course, brief icebreakers will not compromise the business of the meeting, even if the participants engage in an hour-long activity at the table. This practice becomes especially important when a team increases in size and many newcomers have to adjust.


Icebreakers that suit the culture and profession of the audience always work best. For instance, if the participants are designers, they will be more excited about a short activity that includes sketching or doodling. Finally, good icebreaker is a brief activity of no more than 10-15 minutes; however, it manages to energize the participants and change the course.

Encourage Open Communication and Respectful Listening

Encouraging a culture of open communication and respectful listening is critical to enabling effective team collaboration and participation in meetings. This philosophy should be adopted and rewarded by leaders in order to establish a fundamental expectation within the team. Further, such a practice would help build the team members’ confidence in freely expressing their ideas or concerns without fear of being shut down or ridiculed.

Set ground rules

First of all, it is beneficial for communication to set clear ground rules before the beginning of any discussion . They may include refraining from interrupting one another, being concise when putting down one’s points, and critiquing others’ ideas rather than the people themselves. In other words, a good practice for a manager would be to start a meeting by explicitly laying out these rules and encouraging team members to gently remind each other if they start to sway from those when putting across their points.

Inclusive language

The use of inclusive language would also help promote a broad feeling of respect among the team members and make everyone feel valued. This approach entails making sure that one’s words characterize everyone in the group and are not discriminatory. For example, the retention of common situations where such a principle might be violated would also be beneficial to training. Engaged employees also take steps to learn this type of inclusive language by participating in training sessions .

Active listening techniques

Having team members take part in training for active listening techniques before meetings is highly beneficial for their dynamics. For example, useful techniques may include nodding, making eye contact, and paraphrasing what others have said in order to confirm the correct understanding. Not only does this show respect for the speaker, but genuinely helps understand and retain the information people discuss or hear.

Organize Meetings to Maximize Participation and Engagement

To make meetings more engaging and facilitate participation, one needs to consider not only the content but also the format and timing. Effective planning and preparation can make a huge difference in how involved the members of the team will be. This implies truly understanding whether the team could benefit from the meeting. Some ways to make meetings more engaging include considering the group timing and member preferences, avoiding the early start or late finish of the meetings, ensuring that the schedule does not include more than is necessary, making them interactive, and rotating the leadership.

Choose the Right Time

Scheduling a meeting may be a bigger part of the battle since holding an undertaking at an early hour or late in the evening is often deterring. For global teams, think about scheduling with time zone influences in mind and bear in mind that it should work as a compromise benefit. Many scheduling tools and apps offer a poll based on which a suitable time for the conference can be selected . If time is of any concern, avoid carrying out meetings in the early hours. Despite the time zone, avoid holding them in the evening. The morning time slot is guarded by starting off the day with a meeting and keeping the team on track with what needs to be done. Not more than 30 – 60 minutes are necessary for meeting time unless the meeting calls for a longer duration.

Frequency of Meetings

Needless to say, the lesser the number of meetings, the more pumped up the team will be. Therefore, care should be taken into consideration whether the meeting is truly necessary or the same purpose could be achieved with an email or a short brief . Other ways to get people excited about conferencing is to make the entire meeting organized and interactive. Are there members of the team that usually dominate the conversations? One way to correct the situation would be to give these individuals small talk-tasks of coordination that have no direct relation to the task being built.

Rotating the Leadership

Rotational leadership is an incredibly fascinating way to switch up the meeting dynamics. When individuals know they will be held responsible for different tasks each meeting, they are more likely to become better prepared and organized. Adding a second layer of ownership, skillful organization, and true involvement makes the task shift more appealing.

Recognize and Value Contributions to Inspire Engagement

Team members recognition and the appreciation of their efforts is a powerful method to increase engagement in team meetings. When employees realize they are valued, they become much more motivated to participate actively in meeting discussions . Such recognition can be organized in various ways that ensure positive effects on team dynamics and overall productivity.

Real-time recognition

First of all, any contribution that positively affects the meeting’s quality should be immediately recognized on the spot. It can be as simple as a verbal appreciation from the meeting leader or a round of applause from the peers. For example, when discussing a project, the team may acknowledge that one of their members has proposed a rather innovative solution. In this case, recognition not only helps increases the meeting leader’s morale, as an example, it signals that unorthodox solutions can be appreciated .

Regular reward systems

Secondly, rewards should be arranged systematically on a regular basis and made contingent on valuable contributions in the meetings. In this case, rewards can take a variety of shapes that range from simple thank you notes to substantial gift cards or, in the case of public praise, mention in the corporate communication. For example, every quarter, the team leader may single out the employee who frequently suggested innovative ideas and proposed useful decisions that contributed to the team’s success, especially, if during commended meeting these ideas and suggestions were discussed .

Personalized appreciation

Thirdly, the best reward an employee can get is the appreciation they truly need because it makes them feel genuinely recognized as a person . For this reason, the meeting leader needs to know what makes a person to feel appreciated, in general, and to act accordingly. For some employees, it may be enough to just give them a round of applause, while others need a sincere email with a thank you, and still, others desire something completely different.

Track contributions digitally

Forth, team meeting organization may utilize digital tools for tracking and recognition of contributions. For example, collaborative platforms often contain the possibility to “upvote” one’s comment or another’s idea . These upvotes can then be reviewed during the meeting or after it – and considered in assessing one’s role in the productive process or during the performance review.

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