Have you ever had someone in your team that is painfully quiet in meetings? A person who never contributes? People like this can be perceived as not interested in the meeting, or worse, a poor performer, someone who is not capable of contributing. Often, the truth is the opposite. This person may be highly intelligent and capable, but lacks confidence to find the “space” to talk.
Meetings are full of people who are very vocal and have no problem expressing their thoughts and ideas. In such an environment, someone who is naturally quiet, or who likes to think things through before they speak, will find it challenging to speak up.
As a manager, don’t let this situation go unaddressed. You might be missing out on some great ideas from that person. Outside of the meeting, talk with this person and find out what is going on for them. One strategy you could try is to specifically ask this individual to contribute. At the end of each agenda item, turn to this person and ask if they have anything to add. They may feel incredibly uncomfortable when you do this, but over time they will build the confidence to find their own space in the meeting. My manager did this for me, and it was uncomfortable, but it was one of the best things they could have done!
Check out the Team Behaviours Guide for more tips and ideas for managing meetings.
Also, check out Having Difficult Conversations – Don’t tell, ask questions.
Is Rework a challenge for your team? Check out our Reduce Rework for Your Engineering Team video course.
Team Behaviours Guide