Ways to create a welcoming environment: Points
 for participation

Do you find the same members are doing all the talking? When you want to hear from everyone, you’ll need to create a meeting environment that invites and welcomes all to share. Here are a few thoughts for turning all members into participants.

Be comfortable. Have an ice breaker at each meeting to ease any apprehension and get some positive energy flowing.

Be a listener. Let participants know their input is appreciated by giving them your full attention. If a member’s idea is dismissed without much consideration, he or she may choose not to share any other thoughts.

Be sensitive. Make sure members and guests know they are welcome to share, without risk of rejection or humiliation. Some may even feel embarrassed to be called on by name for a response.

Be open. Keep to the meeting’s agenda but not at the expense of dismissing an opportunity to hear a good suggestion.

Be approachable. Some people won’t be comfortable sharing in front of the entire room, but they may find the appropriate committee chairperson or club president to share an idea after the meeting.

Be aware. Recognize when the same few people are speaking at every opportunity. Make them aware (privately) that, while their input is appreciated, waiting to respond to a question may encourage others who haven’t shared to speak up.