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Dealing with meeting participation
Managing participation means shaping a meeting so that each participant has the opportunity to comment on topics, express opinions, and work to influence decisions. However, each individual member of the group will have different communication and participation styles.
If participation isn't managed effectively, then assertive, outspoken, and confident group members may tend to dominate the proceedings. Submissive, less confident, or inexperienced group members may remain quiet. Without balanced and diverse input into a meeting, there's a real danger that the quality of decisions will suffer.
As a meeting leader, your role in promoting and balancing participation is that of a facilitator. You can't just hope that participation will happen. Nor can you demand it. During a meeting, the leader has two main jobs: to draw out quiet participants and to prevent dominant participants from monopolizing the discussion.
A good facilitator manages the flow of the discussion and stays focused on accomplishing the objectives of the meeting. It's also important to be sensitive to the motivations of your meeting participants. It's vital to respect individual differences and proceed carefully to help people optimize their contributions.
How to deal with participation in meetings