|Dear Meeting Guru,
Some members in our meetings seem reluctant
to share things that are going wrong or downplay problems that may
be occurring. The purpose of the meeting is to share information,
not lay blame. As a manager of the department, sometimes I feel
blindsided by things that team members have not shared. I'd like
to draw up some guidelines as to how each member should be preparing
and participating in our weekly meeting. Any suggestions?
Its a good idea to send an e-mail to your group stressing how much you
value the information shared during the group's meetings good AND bad.
Or you could tell them this in your next meeting. Letting them know how vital
this information is to the success of the group might inspire them to share
more during the meetings. Perhaps you should consider meeting in smaller groups.
Sometimes this helps quieter people feel more comfortable and at ease sharing
Perhaps your group should also be preparing written bi-weekly reports (you
provide an outline) that quickly summarize any progress, issues, concerns, etc.
Ask them to hand in their reports at least two days before the meeting. This
way you'll have enough time to prepare any comments or questions you might need
to bring up at the meeting.
As you mentioned, stating some guidelines for your meetings is an excellent
idea. The guidelines/expectations should be prepared in writing and sent by
e-mail before each meeting. You might want to consider the following categories
as you establish expectations for a particular series of meetings:
||Attendance. Make it clear that participants
are expected to attend all meetings. Discuss what might be considered a
legitimate excuse for missing a meeting, and together establish a method
for participants to notify you or another designated leader if they find
it impossible to attend.
||Promptness. Promise that meetings will start
and end on time. Make it clear to the participants what "on time"
means to you and what it should mean to them if theyre interested
in having productive meetings.
||Participation. Emphasize that each participant
is a valuable member of the group and make it clear to each that he should
both listen attentively and also speak freely.
||Responsibility. Outline any responsibilities
youll assume, as well as those you expect participants to adopt during
You also mentioned that you're having difficulty getting people to participate
in the discussion during your meetings. Here are more ideas on how to encourage
participation in the meeting room and how to get a team to discuss
Its important to
be honest and up front with your group about how youre feeling. You need
to encourage the team members to be open about the reality of the situation,
regardless of whether its good or bad. As Confucius once said, "He
who acts with a constant view to his own advantage will be much murmured against."
Until next time
may good meeting karma always be with you.