Written by Nanna Manbjerg Rasmussen
on February 03, 2016
Actively including your participants leads to higher motivation and more effective meetings. Ib Ravn is an Associate Professor at Aarhus University who does research on meetings, in this post he gives advice on how you can better include meeting attendees.


Involvement fosters effective meetings

You are probably familiar with the type of participant who has something to say about every item on the agenda. But what about the more quiet ones. How do you include them?

It is essential to be aware that your attendees will be very different personality types. Some will be extroverts who talk a lot, some will be more introverted and reserved, and others somewhere in between.

It is very demotivating to attend a meeting, where you are neither included nor heard. Therefore, it is important to include the introverts as well. This can be done by introducing two or three minutes of silent reflection after a difficult subject, which can be of use to encourage them take part in a conversation.

Have you read last week’s blog post featuring Ib Ravn? He explained the necessary change from chairperson to facilitator of meetings.


Participants need time to digest new information

There is no doubt in Ib Ravn’s mind: it is very important that attendees have time to digest new information given in a meeting. If the manager uses 20 or 40 minutes to inform about a new strategy and then offers the attendees a few seconds to ask questions, it is not very effective, as they have not had time to realize and embed the coming changes.

“Most managers know that it is very difficult to both implement new strategies and also get the participants to comprehend all the brilliant decisions, that have been made by the executive board"

How to involve attendees?

If you are used to delivering information, without including the participants, it is time to get started. This way you will increase both motivation and understanding of the people you want to reach. But how is it done?

It takes that management acknowledges employees and gives them time to understand the strategy, instead of talking over or at them.

Implement a few minutes of silent response time after the presentation, then ask the attendees to spend five minutes discussing the consequences of the new strategy. Finally, use some time on a recap together with the chairperson. This way both management and the participants can learn from each other.

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