Seven Tips for Better Participation in Meetings


A meeting can be led (or misled) from any chair in the room. Here’s how to ensure that you add value during your next meeting.

Improved Meeting Participation

Improved Meeting Participation

  1. If it is your meeting, ask a facilitator to lead the group through major solution finding activities. Having a facilitator frees you to participate and gives responsibility for keeping order to a neutral person.
  2. Take a moment to organize your thoughts before speaking. Then express your idea simply, logically, and concisely. People are more receptive to ideas they understand. Long, complex explanations work against you.
  3. Respect others. Different views force us to develop new ideas and more ideas equates to higher quality decisions.
  4. Use positive comments in the meeting. Negative comments create defensive reactions that distract from your goals.
  5. Use structured activities. Methodological tools ensure equitable participation and systematic progress toward results.
  6. Focus on one issue at a time. Avoid stories, jokes, and unrelated issues. These waste time, distract focus, and mislead others. Save the fun for lunchtime or social occasions where it will be appreciated.
  7. Rescue wayward meetings by challenging seemingly unrelated comments. Ask, “Explain how that contributes to the issue about _______?”

Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Do not forget to order Change or Die if you’re working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and detailed tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

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About Terrence Metz
Biographic Sketch — Terrence Metz Since the end of 1999, Terrence Metz has been a founding principal partner and vice president at Morgan Madison & Company. For over twenty years, through professional and academic endeavors, Terrence has focused on improving group decision-making. His experience has proven that two important components to effective group decision-making are: 1. Higher quality information assures higher quality decisions, 2. Properly managed conflict, generates more “options” to consider—
and groups with more options are proven to make higher quality decisions. Terrence is passionate about using and teaching the FAST Facilitative Leadership Training technique so that people and teams make more informed decisions. Terrence is the lead instructor and primary curriculum developer for MG Rush Performance Learning. He earned his Six Sigma Green Belt® from Motorola University and wrote most of the existing FAST curriculum. Terrence made the FAST technique more robust by adding and enhancing decision-making tools such as PowerBalls and the FAST quantitative SWOT technique that is used worldwide by Fortune 1000 companies. He introduced the concept of holism to the field of structured facilitation as a method for keeping discussions on target and aligning deliverables throughout an organization. Since 1999, Terrence has taught over two hundred classes. With a Baccalaureate in Science from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and a MBA from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on product/ process development and innovation. Terrence has a P&L background in capital goods markets with highly engineered-products and services (eg, Honeywell). He is an expert group facilitator, instructor, and developer of workflow processes and Voice of the Market inputs that accelerate commercial success. His engagements have included strategic development, business planning, problem-solving, continuous improvement, organizational design, process design and improvement, customer cognitivity workshops, and market-based product development and launch. His book "Change or Die: The Business Process Improvement Manual" from CRC Press was published internationally in 2012. Terrence completed additional graduate work in inter-cultural decision-making processes at Marquette University, is a former board member of the Product Development Managers’ Association, and a long-time member of the IAF (International Association of Facilitators), MFNA (Midwest Facilitators Network Association), TMAC (Technology Management Association of Chicago) and WFS (World Future Society). Most importantly, Terrence is an effective listener and equally adept at teaching FAST classes as well as galvanizing consensus around complex issues for organizations and groups.

3 Responses to Seven Tips for Better Participation in Meetings

  1. Pingback: Open the Box 2–The Golden Table « Authentic Voice

  2. Pingback: Meeting Tips « MyGantt PM Framework

  3. Pingback: Seven Traits that Increase the Likelihood of Successful Meetings | Facilitative Leadership & Facilitator Training

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