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Three Tips for Engaging Passive Meeting Attendees

There are some people who say very little during meetings, who we sometimes call passive attendees. There are various reasons why a person might seem passive: shyness, lack of confidence, lack of familiarity in the subject or the organization.
 
Listening quietly may be the preferred learning style, while others may be quiet because they disagree with what’s being said.  Regardless of the reason, good leaders recognize the importance of gathering input from all meeting attendees.
 
Here are three ways to bring passive attendees out of their shell:
 
1. Foster an environment of openness in your meetings. Ensure you give positive responses to everything that’s brought to the table to help less confident members feel comfortable speaking.
 
2. Provide attendees with a meeting agenda before the meeting. This enables everyone to think about the topic and be prepared. When people are prepared, you as the leader can call on specific members to share their thoughts without the risk of putting someone on the spot.
 
3. Ask for everyone to send their thoughts on the topic beforehand (provided you’ve sent an agenda), directly to you via email. Then, during the meeting you can engage with all members and allow them to elaborate on the ideas they’ve submitted, in a way that ensures they won’t be outspoken by more talkative members.
 
 

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