Active Voice: 10 ways to make your team meetings more inclusive

Meetings are opportunities to benefit from the team’s cumulative thinking. Yet at most meetings, 70% of the contribution comes from 30% of contributors. To ensure everyone participates equally, create an inclusive team meeting environment that allows everyone to tap into the diversity of thought of their colleagues by following these 10 guidelines:

  1. Set up each agenda item in the form of a question. This engages the mind and improves thinking.
  2. Check titles at the door and allow everyone to speak freely, no matter how junior or new.
  3. Encourage everyone to speak up early by asking a simple/ice breaker question and going around the table for each person to answer in turn.
  4. Agree with each person to listen attentively and to not interrupt other speakers.
  5. Create a judgment-free zone. Everyone is entitled to their view and, while views may vary significantly, there is no right or wrong view.
  6. Encourage discourse. To avoid ‘groupthink’, encourage team members to openly (yet politely) disagree with each other to generate some friction. The more disparate the ideas, the closer you will get to finding those gems.
  7. Acknowledge that you don’t know everything. Being humble and admitting that one does not have all the answers builds trust and respect.
  8. Encourage a growth mindset. When someone doesn’t know something, they don’t know it – yet!
  9. Fail fast and fail forward. Failing at something is a milestone to learning, not a sackable offence. Acknowledge failures and learn from them as a team.
  10. Adopt a “disrupt” approach. Revisit existing assumptions and conventional approaches. Encourage team members to think creatively – no suggestion is a dumb idea.

For more information on how to run inclusive team meetings, please contact us.