It is challenging to run a good meeting where everyone participates. Some employees may monopolize the conversation while others hang back, passive and introverted. Your goal, though, is total engagement, which we know most employers do not have from their workforce. With about 36% of the workforce engaged, employers know they are missing the mark in meetings and across the job itself.

How can managers break through the silence of introversion or even disengagement? This blog will give you some tricks for getting even introverts to speak up in your next meeting.

How Can You Get Introverted Employees to Speak Up

Tips for Engaging Introverts in Meetings

Introversion is a personality trait that focuses internally instead of externally. Introverts like to hang back and see the lay of the land before engaging. The data tells us 25 to 40% of the population falls into this category, so it is inevitable at some point that you’ll experience an introvert on your team. These employees aren’t necessarily shy or anxious, but they are focused more on their internal thoughts over external and verbal stimulation. You know the type in meetings; slow to speak, reserved, and quiet.

How can you reach these key players on your team?

  • Create a welcoming culture that includes feedback from everyone. It’s up to you as the meeting facilitator to keep an eye on the introverts so the voices of the extroverts don’t drown out their opinion. 
  • Part of creating this kind of culture is to send out an agenda in advance. Introverts are less off the cuff than extroverts, so it helps to let them know what to expect in a meeting so they can think through what they might want to say.
  • Talk with the introverts in advance and ensure they understand you want their voice heard. This is the opposite approach from calling out the quiet person in front of others, a common tactic in meeting leaders. Instead, impress upon everyone that the meeting is a forum where everyone should feel comfortable participating.
  • Ice breakers are awkward, but they do work. An icebreaker allows everyone a chance to speak without the pressure of contributing to the discussion. An icebreaker is just a fun question, such as,“What’s your favorite ice cream?” It gets everyone talking and enjoying each other right at the start of the meeting.
  • If the meeting is small enough and people are new to each other, make sure they introduce themselves. Introductions gives the introvert a chance to talk, but also opens the floor so participants can get to know each other in a safe, welcoming environment.
  • If you expect meeting participants to provide feedback, don’t force them. Instead, offer the group as a public sounding board but also create an anonymous way for members after the meeting to give feedback. Ask everyone for feedback and give them the psychological safety to provide it right there or after the fact.

How Are You Engaging Employees?

Exelare offers customized staffing and recruiting software to organize your interactions and activities. We are a next-generation resource for managers, recruiters, and HR teams. Contact us to find out more.