Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Leading Meetings When No One Wants to Talk

As a leader, how do you handle meetings when participants don't want to speak up?

Discussions during meetings can be feast or famine. Either you can't get a word in edgewise or no one speaks up. Next time your meeting falls silent, try these tactics:
  • Let it be. Wait a moment before breaking the silence and offering a suggestion. The group may need time to reflect on an idea.
  • Name it. Call out what's happening, and ask the group about it, "It seems we've gone quiet. Does anyone want to talk about what's going on?"
  • Take a break. Sometimes a short break gives people the chance to refocus.
  • Think facilitation.  Rethink the processes used in your meetings.  Do your meetings included facilitated discussions?  If not, this might be just what you need to balance the amount of conversation.

Adapted from Guide to Making Every Meeting Matter (HBR OnPoint Collection).

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