Who Cares What They Think?


Why should it matter if you get input from everyone at your meeting? Doesn’t it only matter that you tell them what to do?

Well, maybe. If you’re the emergency dispatcher, then yes, all that matters is that they listen to you and go where you tell them. But that’s not what the typical meeting is all about.

What are the benefits of getting input from everyone at the table?

  1. People want to be heard. You hired these people because they are good at what they do, so you should listen to them. It makes them happier to be listened to, which increases morale across the board.
  2. Replacing someone is expensive. If people don’t feel valued, they leave. Daniel Pink wrote about this in his book Drive. People want to feel like their contribution means something.
  3. You get better decisions when you have more data to work from. If you only ever hear from two people, you make decisions with two data points. If you hear from a dozen people, you may end up with 8-15 data points, which makes a stronger decision more likely.
  4. Productivity goes up. When people talk to each other in meetings, they are more likely to talk to each other outside meetings. If you have a useful exchange of views with someone in accounting, when you need a favor from accounting you’re more likely to go back to that person. Which increases productivity.
  5. Engaged employees are more effective. If all someone does is sit in meetings and never contribute, they are not being engaged. There are Employee Engagement Awards to celebrate the companies that know how to keep their people fully involved – and when they do that, they get better results.

Google studied what made high-performing teams, and one of the main factors was how much people participated. Teams where everyone felt welcome to contribute and had a chance to speak up did much better than those where only a few ever spoke up.

What have you seen in your time spent in meetings?


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