The importance of ensuring equal speaking time in meetings

12/07/2022

As a leader or member of a team, it's crucial to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to speak and contribute in meetings. Allowing equal speaking time not only promotes psychological safety and inclusivity, but also supports diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in the workplace.

According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, psychological safety is the "belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes" (Edmondson, 2019). When individuals feel safe to speak up and share their thoughts, they are more likely to contribute their unique perspectives and experiences, leading to more effective and creative problem-solving.

On the other hand, research has shown that when certain individuals or groups are consistently interrupted or silenced in meetings, it can lead to feelings of exclusion and demoralization (Kearney, 2018). This can not only harm their mental health and well-being, but also hinder the team's ability to make informed and inclusive decisions.

Ensuring equal speaking time can also support DEI efforts in the workplace. When all voices are heard and valued, it sends a message to team members that their contributions are valued and appreciated, regardless of their race, gender, age, or other characteristics (McLeod, 2018). This can foster a more inclusive and equitable work environment, leading to better outcomes for all team members.

To promote equal speaking time in meetings, leaders can implement a variety of strategies. For example, they can use specific facilitation techniques, such as "go-around" or "round robin" discussions, to ensure that everyone has a chance to share their thoughts (McLeod, 2018). Leaders can also use Equal Time for Google Meet, or Equal Time for Zoom to run more effective and inclusive meetings easily. 

In conclusion, ensuring equal speaking time in workplace meetings is crucial for promoting psychological safety, DEI, and more effective problem-solving. By implementing strategies to support all team members' contributions, leaders can foster a more inclusive and equitable work environment for all.

References:

Edmondson, A. (2019). Psychological Safety: The Key to Unlocking Innovation and Performance. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2019/08/psychological-safety-the-key-to-unlocking-innovation-and-performance

Kearney, E. (2018). The Importance of Equal Speaking Time in Meetings. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2018/06/the-importance-of-equal-speaking-time-in-meetings

McLeod, S. (2018). Facilitation Techniques for Inclusive Meetings. Training Industry. https://www.trainingindustry.com/articles/leadership/facilitation-techniques-for-inclusive-meetings/