Ready to Start your Culture Shift?

Get in touch and transform your culture today.

Reach out using the form below and we’ll respond as soon as possible. We appreciate your interest.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Exercise: How to Protect Introverts from Extroverts in Virtual Meetings

How can you encourage and manage equal participation in meetings? Start by assessing your team style.

By Gustavo Razzetti

February 16, 2021

Managing Equal Airtime in Remote Meetings

You've heard about the 80/20 rule, right? In most meetings, 20% of participants do 80% of the talking – they steal airtime from other participants.

Unfortunately, remote meetings amplify this lousy behavior: it’s easy to interrupt others, there’s more room for people to feel they aren't being listened to, and silence becomes even more uncomfortable.

Psychological safety is critical to ensure participation – not just to make people feel included, but to drive better outcomes and solutions. Being interrupted by others is the primary reason most people choose to stay silent in meetings.

So what can you do about it?

The Exercise to Protect Introverts from Extroverts

In a previous post, I shared several activities you can facilitate to help promote psychological safety, creating more interesting, courageous conversations.

This exercise focuses on the people, helping everyone increase their awareness of other people’s style to increase participation.

The goal of this activity is for people to become more aware of their colleagues' participation styles - as well as their own –  so that they might adjust behaviors and improve collaboration.

Some people like to talk to think, while others need to think before they talk. Some people are shy and quiet, while others are more vocal and outspoken.

This exercise helps assess the loud and quiet voices in the group, identifying the right actions to balance air time for everyone.

As a facilitator, you can use it when you start working with a team to discover how well they manage participation. It’s also a great activity to run with a new program cohort and see how much people are paying attention to other participants.

The first part of the exercise is silent. People reflect on their own style and assess their colleagues. Then, each participant shares their personal style and everyone is encouraged to discuss the gaps.

Lastly, participants are given some time to reflect on their (lack of) awareness and see how they can adjust their behaviors to participate more or step back and let others participate more, depending on where they are.

Step by Step Facilitation

Share the following chart with all participants

Participants can complete the exercise on a piece of paper or a personalized MURAL to prevent their answers from influencing others.  

First, they need to assess themselves and each of the participants.

Give participants one minute to complete their self-assessment.

Give them 5 minutes to assess their team members (or other participants, if they are part of a training cohort). It should take an average of 20-30 seconds per person. You don’t want to rush the exercise, but you don’t want people to overthink it, either.

Once everyone has completed the exercise, participants will place their names on the map, considering the four variables.

Share out. Give each participant one minute to share where they placed themselves in the grid and why.

Debrief. Invite people to reflect on their colleagues. What are the differences and similarities among team members? Ask them to compare where they thought their colleagues belonged versus where they were placed. Any surprises? Invite them to share their observations and discuss why.

Reflection time. Give the team a couple of minutes to reflect and then share how they will adjust their behavior moving forward.

Debrief the Exercise to Balance Quiet and Loud Voices

For quiet people: How will you make people aware of your style? How can you call out people when they are interrupting? What can you do to make sure you are being paid attention to?

For loud people: How will you pay more attention to others? Identify ways to avoid interrupting people. If you realize you've interrupted someone, how can you ask for forgiveness and share the room with them?

For those who need to talk to think: Make sure you make people aware that you're thinking aloud. Experiment with writing your thoughts first and organizing your ideas before sharing them with others. Set time limits to avoid going on and on, stealing everyone’s airtime.

For those who need to think before they talk: Make people aware of your style. Claim your time; don’t let people rush the process if you're still thinking. Practice improvising – borrow some tricks from those who talk to think.

Most people are unaware of how the different participation styles affect communication and collaboration. Assessing your team members will not only increase awareness, but help you identify concrete actions to increase participation in virtual meetings or workshops.

As you can see on the chart above, most members of this particular team tend to be outgoing and love to talk (to think). This represents a challenge as everyone will tend to interrupt each other; they need to recalibrate individual behaviors. On the other hand, one of the members – Betsy – is an outlier: she likes to think before she talks and is much more shy than the rest. The team needs to understand this gap and adjust to her participation style instead of imposing theirs – not an easy adjustment for sure.

What about you? Are you shy or outgoing? Do you prefer to talk to think or think to talk? How can you adapt your behavior to encourage participation?

What do you think?

Comments

Previous

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Next

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Let Innovation Thrive

Related Posts

The Psychological Safety Ladder Canvas

Read More

The Start, Stop, Continue Canvas

Read More

Make Good Decisions Faster: Move from Consensus to Consent

Read More
view all Posts
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

All rights reserved. © 2020 Fearless Culture

Privacy Policypowered by psychoactive studios
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.