4 August 2016

Running inclusive meetings

Being inclusive of introverts:

Oftentimes, we subconsciously internalize that the loudest people are the smartest. However, in doing so, we fail to leverage the creativity and brainpower of our introverts. Here are some ideas to be more inclusive of introverts:

  1. Before meetings, share the purpose of your meeting, provide relevant data, and list out specific discussion questions
  2. During meetings, proactively prompt introverted thinkers. Say things like, "Lauren, do you have any thoughts on other items we should be considering?"
  3. After meetings, circulate a summary and solicit additional thoughts. Stating that you are open to more ideas may create opportunities for more people to

Being inclusive of women:

Multiple studies have demonstrated that it is more common for women to be spoken over in meetings, making it more difficult for women to contribute. Here are some tools you can use to encourage your diverse workforce to participate:

  1. Reframe the conversation as a business issue instead of a women's issue. After all, the diverse array of ideas coming from your diverse workplace will likely drive profits
  2. Create ground rules such as "no talking over each other"
  3. Task progressive men to watch out for their female colleagues and hold them accountable for making space for their female colleagues to contribute
  4. Create a culture of "calling it out" when someone notices untoward behavior
  1. Being inclusive of remote workers:

    It is much more difficult to contribute to a meeting when you are not able to interact with other attendees face-to-face. Here are some tips on making your remote workers engaged:

    1. Prior to the meeting, circulate the meeting purpose, objectives, and materials to those that are dialing in remotely
    2. If possible, use videoconferencing so everyone can be seen
    3. Regularly stop and ask if anyone remote has questions or comments
    4. Circulate a follow-up note that summarizes insights, decisions, and actions
author Mark M
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