We want everyone to be able to contribute in a way they feel comfortable. This means being thoughtful about people who, for example:
- are disabled
- who have access requirements
- are new to a team
- cannot attend a meeting at a specific time
- cannot access certain tools or systems
- need thinking time
- are introverted
- are extroverted
We hope these tips will encourage more inclusive discussions, allowing everyone to contribute.
Co-op Digital has created 7 guidelines to help people collaborate effectively and inclusively. Both online and in-person.
You can also download these guidelines in poster format (PDF).
Give everyone the opportunity to contribute
- Ask people if they want to contribute.
- Allow people to contribute anonymously or in smaller groups.
- Check if people can access the tools you’re using, explain how to use them and offer an alternative if necessary.
- Use visible timers and allow thinking time.
- Use captions and transcripts where possible.
- Consider how people could contribute outside of the meeting, in their own time.
Set clear expectations, early
- Send out an agenda in advance.
- Clearly state the purpose of the meeting and the outcome you want to achieve.
- Give a running order, including approximate times.
Give context: do not assume any prior knowledge
- Reiterate any information that someone would need to know to be able to contribute.
- Give regular recaps. Consider taking notes as you go so you can easily refer back.
- Be mindful of late joiners and the context they might lack.
Use clear language
- Do not use acronyms without explaining what they mean.
- Use plain English.
- Be mindful of people who are new to Co-op, or a team. If you use jargon, explain what you mean.
Respect people’s time
- Book only the amount of time you need with people, and allow people to leave if they’ve contributed all they need to.
- Plan your meeting to allow people breaks between meetings, for example 5 or 15 minutes past the hour.
- If the meeting is long, schedule in regular breaks.
Value all contributions equally
- Give everyone a chance to speak, do not allow one voice to dominate.
- If you’re referencing what’s been inputted, reference contributions from a range of people.
- Consider your audience. Be prepared to adapt your approach or process to encourage contribution from more people.
Encourage clarity, curiosity, and challenges
- Explain how people can ask questions.
- Encourage people to get clarity on things they do not understand.
- Allow people to ask questions anonymously, for example by adding post-its to a collaboration board.
Article originally appeared on: Inclusive meetings: encouraging collaboration from all
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