11 Tips to Run More Inclusive Meetings
Whether in-person or remote, running inclusive meetings where everyone feels heard and valued can be a challenge. Fortunately, with a combination of the right strategies and tools, you can create an environment where everyone can contribute effectively.
Here are 11 practical tips for making your meetings more inclusive:
1. Create a Clear, Shared Agenda: Prior to the meeting, share a clear agenda with all participants. This allows everyone to prepare their thoughts on each topic. Tools like Google Docs can be used for collaborative agenda creation, allowing team members to add their points for discussion.
2. Use a Round-Robin Approach: At the start of the meeting, allow each participant to provide a quick update or share an idea related to the agenda. This ensures everyone has an opportunity to speak up early on. Give everyone the same amount of time to speak, and use Equal Time to track the speaking time.
3. Leverage Tools to Balance Speaking Time: Use apps like Equal Time to track and balance speaking time during the meeting. This ensures that no single voice dominates the conversation, making space for everyone to contribute.
4. Alleviate the Need for a Notetaker with AI Note-Taking: Taking notes can distract from active participation. Using AI-generated notes, a feature of Equal Time, allows all participants to stay engaged and contribute effectively. Typically the more junior members, women, and underrepresented employees end up taking notes. SO using an AI note-taker can be a major aide for inclusion of their voices.
5. Provide Accessible Meeting Transcripts: After the meeting, share a complete transcript with all participants. Tools like Equal Time can generate transcripts that are searchable, making it easier for everyone to revisit discussion points.
6. Use Breakout Rooms for Larger Meetings: For larger meetings, consider using breakout rooms to ensure everyone gets a chance to speak. Many video conferencing tools, like Zoom, offer this feature.
7. Practice "Silence is Not Agreement": Encourage everyone to voice their agreement or disagreement explicitly, ensuring that silence is not misinterpreted as agreement.
8. Assign a "Yoda" for Each Meeting: This person's role is to ensure everyone gets a chance to contribute and to gently encourage quieter individuals to share their thoughts. This role can rotate each meeting.
9. Pause for Processing Time: Not everyone can process information quickly on the spot. Pausing for a few seconds after asking a question can give everyone a fair chance to respond.
10. Seek Feedback from All Participants: Using anonymous surveys or feedback tools, like SurveyMonkey, gather feedback on how inclusive participants found the meeting. This can provide valuable insights for improving future meetings.
11. Use AI Coaching for Continuous Improvement: Apps like Equal Time offer AI coaching to help quieter voices speak up more and help facilitators improve their management skills.
Each of these practical tips can be implemented immediately, helping to create a more inclusive meeting environment. By encouraging balanced participation and leveraging technology, you can ensure everyone's voice is heard, making for more effective, efficient, and enjoyable meetings.