You have a very special topic to discuss with the team and you’ve arranged a meeting for the same. Everyone has assembled in the meeting room looking at you, waiting for you to say something and you, will full confidence and excitement, start with the discussion. Then you realize that nobody else is actually contributing to the talks. It feels like you’re speaking to the walls alone. Now you start asking questions and state examples of the people present to get some attention and contribution but nothing happens. It is such a terrible thing to not have your team’s attention.
It’s not easy to get people involved into a particular discussion effectively. Until & unless the point of discussion is of concern to anyone, nobody will actually care to put in their points. But sometimes, you need to get people to participate. Let’s share a couple of ways to get people more engaged:
Time of the meeting
If you call people early in the morning, they’ll be too grumpy and if you call them after lunch, they’ll be sleepy. In the evening, everyone has got their eyes glued to the clock. So, the best time is mid-morning. Everyone will be fresh and active. Also, the evening before the weekend (Friday or Saturday evening) is most productive because everyone is excited for the coming off-days.
Now when everyone is there on the meeting table, make sure nobody has their mobile phones on, or at least they shouldn’t be giving all the attention to it. Cellphones are the best way to avoid lull and boredom. If everyone is on their phones, you’ll again be left alone. Also, you should try to keep the meeting short and crisp. Anything stretched beyond a point makes everyone lose their interest. Moving one point to another quickly keeps everyone engaged.
Chip-in well from your side
One good way to get the people engaged is getting their attention. If you are not really good at speaking, this can be difficult. Once you have their attention, control it. The entire meeting will be a product of how nicely you facilitate their creativity with your words. Try to be more open and welcoming and it’s always better to start with a question to get some responses. It’s not easy to get opinions and ideas on a broad topic; it takes too much effort to get a person talking on something which is not so interesting.
The attendees are generally in a pressure to put forward their thoughts and their creativity gets squashed down under the pressure. It is like they are asked and now they are forced to answer it and can also be an awkward silence. Now when someone is answering, be encouraging to their response. Even if you disagree, question it further to show that you valued their answer. This will pull more people into discussion. One person contributing will mean more people coming in and there will be an abundance of ideas.
Picking up an idea
Now when you have a huge lot of great ideas, you need to make a decision based on them. There will be a lot of ideas and to come to an agree everyone. If you can’t come to a conclusion, let the team do it for you. You have to further discuss it with all the merits and demerits of the plan till one perfect idea is fixed. It will be a big achievement for the team if there is a consensus and that is what will be the motivation for the next meeting and brainstorming.
Following these steps, you’ll be able to carry a healthy and productive brainstorming session in which everyone will participate. If you have any other ideas, do share with us!