Here are tips on how to get people engage people in a meeting or when facilitating a session, for example facilitating a training session or project meeting.
Let's now turn our attention to the art of 'getting people involved'. Firstly, it is important to note that not every person will appreciate you 'bringing them in', so you will need to have a range of strategies for getting all the group involved, without putting them unnecessarily on the spot. These tips will help limit the 'tumbleweed' moment when you ask the group to contribute and they stare blankly at you!!
1. Safety in numbers
It is often very awkward for individuals to speak up in groups. So when trying to get involvement, it may be best to start them discussing in pairs/trios, that way quieter team members will still be able to contribute.
2. Control the 'high contributors'
Often a dilemma we face is not that we have a tumbleweed moment, but the opposite. Where one or a few team members voice their opinions with little disregard for others. This can be positive, however it may mean the quieter contributors cannot get a word in edge-ways. Here are a few ways to limit participation:
* Split into groups and get someone to feedback (not the high contributor)
* Ask to put ideas down on paper/post it note.
* Put high contributors together in one group, and lower contributors in another.
* Plan out useful phrases to get others involved, eg 'thanks for your contribution, what other views do we have?'
3. Avoid closed questions
By asking the group open questions you are most likely to get responses. So instead of asking 'anything else to add?', say 'What else do you have to add?'
4. Plan in advance
Rather than put groups on the spot, ask them to consider topics in advance of the session. That way people come prepared to give considered ideas.
5. Involve quieter ones
Remember that just because someone is quiet does not mean they cannot or will not contribute. Find ways to hear their views and ideas, for example as in point 2 ask to write down, or get to work in pairs. Speak to them in private to build their confidence to speak up in the main group. Setting clear objectives will also help them to contribute.