How to encourage your team to participate in meetings

6 Tips on how to get started with effective communication

How to encourage your team to participate in meetings

Long gone are the times when each of the teammates was focused exclusively on their role and tasks, when all interaction happened in comments below the ticket in the task tracker. Today, it is difficult to imagine a team that does not meet for regular sync calls, or does not operate as a single unit, nor does it bear a shared responsibility for a result. Transparent and effective communication, which is based on trust, is the key to success. Nevertheless, it is the developer’s nature to be introverted. That’s why the question of how to build effective communication still remains relevant. To answer this question, I’ve compiled a few tips that I came up with based on my experience while our team was growing and evolving.

Tip #1: Warn in advance

No one likes surprises or unpredictability at work. So, if some meeting or ceremony is new, warn your team about the purpose, agenda, format, and expectations. Make sure to have all your colleagues prepared in advance. You might want to state all needed information in the appropriate communication channel and send required materials.

Tip #2: Start first and be transparent

Take a moment to warm up at the beginning of the meeting. Thereafter, declare the purpose of the meeting once again, so that everyone understands why it is happening. As a facilitator of discussion, always initiate the explanation of each agenda item - share as much information as possible and express your expectations in an objective manner. You must be clear and concise, and avoid sugarcoating.

Tip #3: Ask the right questions

It would be best to use exact questions to get the discussion started and going. Moreover, depending on the agenda item, call the person’s name that you need to have input from. Ask your teammates for their thoughts on the precise topic, and then together try to convert them into specific actions that could be taken.

Tip #4: Listen

Once discussion gets started, work on talking less but listening more. It could help to create a safe space for team members to share their expertise and knowledge. Make sure you’re listening attentively. It is a key skill to be able to moderate discussion ( asking questions to check for everyone’s understanding, paying attention to the crucial things, and controlling the moment when the discussion steers off the path).

Tip #5: Make notes

It is always a good way to have a list of action points from a meeting written down on paper. By doing so, we are clear on what action to take as a follow up or continue exploring the problem. This will ensure that you do not overlook any details. Everyone’s time gets invested in meetings, so be respectful and do not duplicate the work.

Tip #6: Show the appreciation and embrace the feedback

It is extremely important to show the team that you appreciate their contribution. Remember that some team members are not naturally driven to take an active part in conversation, so it could be more complicated for people than you think. Furthermore, try to get feedback on what could be done better. It is a learning opportunity. Approach this as a way to build the space where every team member can be in play and feel valued.

Without effective communication, good results would take much longer to achieve. Using these simple principles will help to bypass a number of challenges that the team can face on the way to success.

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