Tips for Creating Inclusive Meetings
GOAL: Encourage diversity of opinion and participation from all attendees.
Studies have shown that many people (e.g., remote workers, women, introverts, for example) have difficulty contributing and being heard in meeting settings.
Additional studies show that even when they do speak up, women are far more likely to be interrupted in meetings, have their ideas taken less seriously, and even co-opted by other teammates.
Enabling these team members speak up and be heard is beneficial to all parties involved, and a good meeting facilitator is the person for the job.
The meeting facilitator’s role in planning the meeting is to give underrepresented voices the opportunity to express opinions early on, keep the group lean and less intimidating, and provide time and headspace for all voices to be heard.
Create a detailed meeting agenda and send to all participants at least 24hrs in advance.
List agenda items as questions, not generic topics, and encourage participants to come prepared. This gives introverts a chance to process information outside of the pressure of a loud social setting. Enlist allies (e.g., men, extroverts, etc.) to lead by example and hold them accountable for making space for their female, remote, and introverted counterparts to contribute.
As the facilitator, conduct the meeting considering the six meeting principles in the graphic.