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Quick Fixes For Non-Participation in Meetings
June 6, 2002


In Communication in Early Childhood Settings (Melbourne, Australia: RMIT Publishing, 1999. www.rmitpublishing.com.au), authors Patrick Hughes and Glenda MacNaughton offer these last ditch techniques for encouraging everyone to participate in meetings:

* Ask for a show of hands on an issue. Once people show their hands, you can ask them to share their reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with the group. You can target (gently) those people who have been quiet to date.

* Ask some open-ended questions to encourage responses which are 'off the wall' or 'at a tangent' to the topic being discussed.

* Ask some open-ended questions and ask each person to respond.

* Present the question or issue at hand in written form and ask everyone to jot down their responses quickly. Collect the responses. Read them to the group and ask the group for their reactions/comments. To start people talking with each other, ask them to do this in pairs.

* Invite non-participants by name to voice their views.

* Assign two or three people the role of devil's advocate and ask them to come up with any objections they can think of.

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