How to Engage the Participants in a Meeting

Julie Løkke Jessen
Actively including your participants leads to higher motivation and more effective meetings. Ib Ravn is an Associate Professor at Aarhus University who does research on meetings, in this post he gives advice on how you can better include and engage meeting participants.


Involvement, engagement and effective meetings

Step 1: Make the participants feel involved

Step 2: Take a step back and give room for the participants' thoughts and ideas

Step 3: Facilitate the meeting 😎


Participants are people, and people are uniquely complex

You are probably familiar with the type of participant who has something to say about every item on the agenda. But what about the more quiet ones. How do you involve and engage them? 

It is very demotivating to participate in a meeting, where you are neither included nor heard. Therefore, it is important to include the introverts as well. 

This can be done by introducing two or three minutes of silent reflection after a difficult subject, which can be of use to encourage and engage participants to take part in the discussion.

Time meetings

It is essential to be aware that your participants will be very different personality types. Some will be extroverts who talk a lot, some will be more introverted and reserved, and others somewhere in between.


Have you read one of our older blog post featuring Ib Ravn? He explained the necessary change from chairperson to facilitator of meetings.


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Participants need time to digest new information

There is no doubt in Ib Ravn’s mind: it is very important that participants have time to digest new information given in a meeting. If the manager uses 20 or 40 minutes to inform about a new strategy and then offers the participants a few seconds to ask questions, it is not very effective, as they have not had time to realize and embed the coming changes.

“Most managers know that it is very difficult to both implement new strategies and also get the participants to comprehend all the brilliant decisions that have been made by the executive board

How to engage participants?

If you are used to facilitate meetings without including the participants, it is time to get started. This way you will increase both motivation and understanding of the people you want to reach. But how is it done?

It takes that management acknowledges employees and gives them time to understand the strategy, instead of talking over or at them.

Implement a few minutes of silent response time after the presentation, then ask the attendees to spend five minutes discussing the consequences of the new strategy. Finally, use some time on a recap together with the chairperson. This way both management and the participants can learn from each other.

If you're looking for more fun and creative initiatives, try spicing it up and have fun at your meetings


Smarter meetings? Yes please!

If you liked this article from FirstAgenda, you’re probably on a mission to having more effective meetings – just like us! You might want to try our platform. It’s a simple tool that manages all your meetings and tasks in ONE place. Collaborate, assign tasks, add due dates and keep track of your team’s progress.

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