Another common pitfall or trap is lack of meeting participation.
There are two key factors that influence group participation. One is the
leader’s behavior and the other is participants’ expectations. How does
leader behavior affect participation (and unfortunately I’ve observed all of these)?
-When leaders demonstrate a high need for air time participants will
give it to them.
-When meetings are called to demonstrate power no one will ask
-If the meeting is called to demonstrate leader knowledge then
groups will sit passively.
-some meetings are called because there “on the leader’s schedule.”
Participants are there physically but not mentally.
How do participants expectations affect participation (and unfortunately I’ve been in meetings like these)?
-Experience is a strong teacher. If previous results of meetings
indicated participation was not expected, then that’s what they will
expect the next time.
-If the participants lack knowledge of the subject or don’t understand
the purpose of the meeting, then they will not expect to participate.
-When their ideas have created negative responses in other meetings
they will expect the same response the next time. So why would they
want to contribute?
-Some participants can’t be that assertive to contribute in meetings
because they are sensitive to other’s reaction
-Feeling insecure also affects participants ability to participate.
Behaviors and expectations do affect meeting participation so here are some
suggestions for improving participation. Effective leaders see their role as
coach, facilitator, and conductor. If meeting participation is your goal then
use the meeting time to improve your effectiveness by:
1 Creating a participative climate
-hold back and let others talk
-wait until last to voice your opinion
-explain your expectations (personal and meeting)
-create a positive atmosphere
-ask open-ended questions
-limit frequent contributor input to allow others to speak
Discussion concluded in Part Six in next week’s blog posting.