When your company works together and feels positive synergy within the team, you will gain the most productivity and efficiency from your employees. So how do you create a work environment that promotes inclusivity and cohesion?
Consider the kind of meeting that you hold. Does everyone at the table have a chance to pipe in? Do you hear from a variety of voices across job titles, demographics, and experience with the company? You will only benefit from hearing as many perspectives as possible to reach an even broader customer base.
Business Meetings: How to Be More Inclusive
Make everyone feel welcome at a meeting with these simple tips. Not only will listening to all feedback and ideas boost the company's trajectory, but it will also make employees feel more valued. As employees feel more heard, they tend to stay with a company longer.
Read about the tips for holding inclusive meetings:
1. Offer Opportunities for Everyone to Speak
You may think that if someone has something to say, they will speak up. The truth is that many diverse voices are twice as likely to stay quiet during a meeting. Not every personality is ready to jump in and interrupt a speaker to be heard.
What can you do to promote hearing from everyone? Depending on the size of the meeting, you can include time for everyone to speak on the agenda so that if someone has an idea, they know when their turn will come up to share. Or you can stop and ask for questions and feedback instead of hoping someone will pipe in without being asked.
2. Pay Attention to the Tone of the Meeting
Your office may fall into a pattern with meetings that are more about reprimanding and lecturing the employees for their shortcomings. However, it is proven that employees respond much better to positive feedback.
For every negative tidbit that you have to share, sandwich it with positive comments on the work in the office. Say something positive, then give constructive criticism, and follow that with another positive observation.
3. Communicate that You Want to Hear from Everyone
Lay your expectations out on the table. Include in the meeting reminders that you expect to hear from everybody. Then, your employees will come prepared to share their thoughts and ideas. Let them know that no idea is a bad idea.
Pay attention to employees who tend to stay quiet and pull them aside to let them know you would love to hear what they have to say regarding a specific topic. When you prepare employees, they gain more confidence to speak up and contribute.
4. Ask Questions
Your meeting will never be collaborative if you're not asking questions. So, as you move through the agenda, stop to ask questions. For example, what do you think of the project timeline? What are your thoughts on the marketing plan? Are there any ideas you have about addressing customer feedback?
When your employees hear specific questions, it will spark thoughts that they feel open to sharing because the meeting is paused for honest answers. In addition, a quieter personality will not feel pushy when presenting an opinion if they were asked first.
5. Respond to New Ideas with Excitement
Consider your body language and response when someone does share a new idea. Do you think it is a reaction that makes employees feel safe about continuing to share? Be thoughtful about how you respond to employees' comments so that they continue to provide feedback.
When you run a meeting, your employees will follow your lead. You are in charge of what goes on in a meeting. And if you want the office to be more inclusive of new ideas from a variety of employees, you can make that happen.
When you follow these simple tips, you will set your workplace up for inclusive meetings where employees feel invested in the company. Promote inclusion, and you will see the innovation that follows.