How to run meetings in a more inclusive way

We’ve all been there. Arrived at a meeting ready to present, only to be asked to take notes by a senior member. Or when trying to make a point – John from sales can’t help but interrupt at any given opportunity. 

Whether its ageism, sexism or racism – the ism’s really come into their own in a meeting room. But why is that?

Instead of encouraging free thought and conversation flow, we often find ourselves fighting for space and to be heard. This can be down to colleagues inter-personal communication style, a lack of awareness or just plain rudeness.

“Men speak to determine and achieve power and status. Women talk to determine and achieve connection.” 

Deborah Tannen, author of You Just Don’t Understand and You’re Wearing That

 

It’s deemed as power play. Women want to discuss and build from a conversation – men want to win it.

In a study conducted by Don Zimmerman and Candace West, sociologists at the University of California, Santa Barbara – in a male/female group dynamic, there were 48 interruptions, 46 of which were instances of a man interrupting a woman. Instead of talking over one another and breaking the flow of creatively and progress, we think it’s important to highlight some housekeeping rules everyone should follow.

Below are some tips on how to run a meeting more inclusively:

  • Read the room and actively listen. Before you go to speak, ask yourself: Am I interrupting to get clarity or just to be heard? Can my point wait?

  • Create a safe space. Gone of the days where the big boss sits at the top of the table. Why not have a meeting in a breakout room, a nearby coffee shop, or a community space so there is no hierarchy.

  • Build-in alternate forms of communication. If members’ of your team aren’t confident speaking up in meetings or if someone needs extra support – create a chat function for the meeting or shared doc where members’ can share their ideas or queries. 

  • Adapt. If a member of your workforce is religious, pregnant or has a disability – don’t host the meeting at midday at the top of a building with no lift, and only serve sushi. This is an exaggerated example but you get the drift. Accommodate your workforce.

  • Have a host. Having a host of the meeting will allow you to form an agenda and stick to a timeframe, alongside holding accountability to anyone who does interrupt.

Now that we are in a more digital way of thinking in terms of Zoom meetings, Google Meets, Teams catch ups etc: the above tips still apply. Creating a safe space online can involve waiting 3 seconds after you think someone has finished to say your point. After all, a somewhat awkward 3-second silence is way better than constant interruptions.

Books 📚
You Just Don’t Understand | Deborah Tannen
You’re Wearing That? | Deborah Tannen

Videos 📹
How to get serious about diversity and inclusion in the workplace | Janet Stovall | TED
3 ways to be more inclusive | Aduke Onafowokan | TEDxBonnSquareSalon

Articles 🖥
Gal Interrupted, Why Men Interrupt Women And How To Avert This In The Workplace | Forbes
How to Counteract 3 Types of Bias and Run Inclusive Meetings | Work Life
To Build an Inclusive Culture, Start with Inclusive Meetings | Harvard Business Review

 

Got a Question?

F.A.Qs

You start with the foundation training which consists of one 30 minute video, followed by 6 bite size videos. You can then do the intermediate training which is made up of 18 bite size videos. Finally, you can do the advanced training which is made up of 8 longer videos.

You can access each module from the homepage via the buttons that say foundation, intermediate and advanced.

No. All our modules are self paced so you can take as long as you like. 

You need to complete each training module and submit your google worksheet which can be found on the individual module page. Once submitted, our team will review your worksheet and issue out a certificate if you have passed. If you have passed, you will receive a graduation pack which contains a certificate, social imagery so you can show off to your colleagues and connections on LinkedIn plus some other goodies.

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You can submit your Google form worksheet via the module page.

No. Only the worksheet is reviewed and marked. 

You can use the cheat sheet to get a better understanding of the different types of biases people face in the workplace, but also IRL.

We will share an overview of how many people have enrolled and completed the course, but we will never share private information such as names, titles or email addresses.

Yes! Each module has its own worksheet which is a Google form. 

We will send you detailed instructions along with suggested social copy and imagery which can be used on LinkedIn and Instagram. This will be sent to you in an email from our team once you have passed the foundation module.

If you fail, you will have the option of submitting your worksheet again until all the answers are correct. Don’t worry, you can take the course again for free and resubmit your worksheets.

 

Please email hello@hustlecrew.co and a member of the team will get back to you within 72 hours.