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Engaging Reluctant Participants on a Team

Best practices to get everyone to participate and share their ideas and thoughts

Engaging Reluctant Participants on a TeamNot everyone on the team is going to be a willing participant in discussions. Some individuals may be shy and therefore reluctant to participant; others may simply not want to participate for any number of reasons. However, it is important that everyone on a team participate in discussions to ensure that a variety of ideas are presented and the best solutions or decisions are reached by the team and not just a few select individuals.

Consider these best practices to get reluctant team members to participate in discussions:

  • Facilitate team discussions to ensure everyone participates by asking individuals – in turn – for their ideas, thoughts, etc.
  • Prior to a team meeting, reach out individually to members who tend to be quieter and ask if they would share their thoughts at the upcoming meeting.
  • Ensure that participants have information needed prior to a meeting so they can feel prepared to discuss specific topics.
  • When a few members dominate and shut out others, structure discussions by calling on the quieter members first and then asking for input from those who speak more freely.

When you notice that there are some folks on the team who tend to be quieter, find out why that is the case. Some people just tend to be a bit shy and don’t talk as easily as others. In other cases, it may be that there are people who are so outspoken that the quieter folks just don’t seem to have a chance to get a word in to the conversation. By reaching out individually to the quieter members on the team, you will better be able to understand how to engage them so that they can participate and share their ideas and knowledge with others.

What do you do to get more reluctant members of the team engaged?

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