Jim Rose
EQ Consulting Services
611 Bear Den Road
Townsend, TN  37882
865-207-4480

jrose@eq-consultingservices.com

Do some people tend to dominate discussions in your meetings?

Frequently some people dominate discussions in meetings while others do not provide input when they should.  You can have a very positive impact regarding the input of both the extraverts and introverts by using a simple technique that I refer to as Polling.  Here is the way it works. 

Let’s say that you have a topic where everyone’s input would be valuable to ensure that the best decision is made.  You start by making sure that the topic for discussion is clear.  Next you explain the following rules for managing the discussion to ensure appropriate input from all.  Everyone will be given 60 seconds to provide their input.  During this time no one else is allowed to say anything.  No one else can express their opinion (they will have their turn) or even ask questions.  Almost always during the uninterrupted 60 seconds a person has all the time they need to express their viewpoint. 

You pick out one person for starting the process.  When they have finished go either clockwise or counterclockwise around the room until everyone has expressed their viewpoint.  I find that it is rarely necessary to actually keep time.  I like to arrange the discussion so that the leader speaks last so the leader does not possible influence others before they share their viewpoint. 

Now you would have had balanced participation where the extroverts did not dominate the meetings and you do have input from the introverts.

Once the polling process has been completed you can allot some time for general discussion.

 

The only reason you might not want to try this would be that you typically have good balanced participation.  Do you?