5 Tips for Ramping Up Meeting Participation

As a leading human resource consulting firm in Hartford, Stewart Staffing knows when you’re the boss, there’s nothing more frustrating then sitting in a meeting with little employee participation. You expect your people to brainstorm, voice their opinions and even debate. And yet, your staff clams up or tunes out. What can you do to improve participation in these situations? Here are five quick tips to help you:

Tip #1: Explain the importance of participation.

Sometimes, employees look at meetings as just another chore to check off their list. But when they understand their value, they are more likely to participate. For instance, you can say something like: “You’re in the field each day with customers, so your perspective is incredibly helpful. I need your input, thoughts and ideas to make sure we’re meeting their needs and working better. I’m really interested in hearing what you have to say about this.”

Tip #2: Be strategic about scheduling.

Don’t schedule meetings at the end of the day or right after lunch. You’ll lose people’s attention and focus; aim instead for mid-morning or mid-afternoon for meetings. Also, keep them short; ideally to around a half hour. If you have an in-depth topic to discuss that requires more time, break it into a series of smaller meetings.

Tip #3: Invite only the key players.

Nothing is more frustrating than going to a meeting only to realize you don’t really need to be there or you have nothing to add. It wastes your employees time and leads to disengagement and frustration. So when you’re scheduling, make sure you invite only those who are true stakeholders in the issue at hand. If you’re inviting more than one person from a single department, consider whether both need to be there or if one can represent the whole team.

Tip #4: Keep it flowing.

Don’t walk into a meeting and wing it. Have a set agenda in place that you’ve sent out well ahead of time. Employees perform better in meetings and will be more likely to offer opinions when they have the time to reflect and prepare questions, answers and thoughts ahead of time. If people get stuck around a certain topic or hit a wall during the discussion, move onto to a different issue and come back to that one at a different time.

Tip #5: Ask questions and listen openly.

To get more people to participate in meetings, it’s vitally important they feel comfortable doing so. If in the past, they’ve felt criticized or condemned, don’t expect them to speak up anytime soon. Instead, when your employees are talking, be an active listener, avoid getting into arguments and show respect, even if you disagree.

Need more help with these and other HR-related issues?

Contact Stewart Staffing. As a leading human resource consulting firm in Hartford, we can help you overcome your biggest HR challenges, staff your team, and create a positive, productive workplace culture for both you and your employees. Contact us today to learn more.

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