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  • Writer's pictureDiego Tomasino

5 ways to make your meetings more inclusive

If we want to create a more diverse and inclusive company, being able to communicate that we are open to change and opinions becomes essential. We need to listen to the different voices of each member of our team.

Communication is something so simple but it can become so complicated in organizations that it ends up being a bit frightening. Most people want to be the owners of the last word, the last comment, to know everything. But what is really valuable today in organizations is to be able to make the knowledge and communication permeate in the culture. Over-communication is never a bad thing, however, withholding information only leads to further misunderstandings and susceptibilities.

Beyond improving and extending our communication channels, I want to share with you 5 techniques that will make your organization more open to inclusion:

Allow people to share their pronouns

Assuming the pronoun of any person just because of their gender expression it is not correct, at all!

Introducing ourselves with our social name, emphasizing our pronouns, helps other people to use their language correctly, avoid misunderstandings in communication and be empathic with those who are in a transition stage, while respecting the individual interests of each person.

This also applies to virtual meetings (and it´s even more simple), since we can state our pronouns next to our name on the platforms or in our digital signature.

E.g: Diego Tomasino (He/El/Ele)

Make sure all voices are heard (breaking silos)

Considering the different perspectives of people is the first step to a more diverse company.

With the exception of some meetings, people tend to keep the knowledge of their area or department to themselves. And not only the knowledge, but also the problems, the solutions, small new traditions or even colloquial language. A kind of organizational islands or silos are set up that barely interact with each other. Imagine if a person from marketing or human talent walked into a financial meeting of your company: how much would they understand what is being talked about and how it affects their department? I dare say very little.

Having the insight of another department encourages new ideas to flow within the organization, and strengthens the organizational culture. For example, what if a person from marketing or product design gave an opinion on a financial report? They could suggest how to make those reports more dynamic, or easier to show to the rest of the stakeholders, beyond simple numbers, bar graphs and financial indicators.

Be open to debate

Encouraging the participation of diverse points of view allows the company to innovate in different ways of facing challenges. The debate that is generated in these situations, as long as it is carried out in an atmosphere of respect, leads to broadening our minds and thinking outside our comfort zone.

Let's encourage ourselves to have the difficult conversations!

Follow up on ideas, even after the meeting is over

In some cases, people may not be able to express their voice for different reasons: lack of time, considering themselves "new" or without much experience in the company, lack of confidence, not being considered by whoever is directing the meeting, among others.

However, that person may have a different and fresh perspective. So it is recommended that, after the time is up, an email is sent with the minutes of the meeting and asking if anyone has anything else to add or comment. You will surely get some new opinions to consider!

Rotate command of meetings

Most of the time, meetings are led by the same person: the CEO, the department director, the general manager, the “boss”, in short, the person with “power”. But this scheme has often led to disbelief in the need to meet. Several people listening to just one person talking for a period of an hour or more, it is not at all motivating. It turns into something that needs to be done just because.

It's time to change the perspective of this matter! Although it is important to have a person in charge to define an agenda or minutes of the meeting, it should be led each time by a different member of the team. This can be defined randomly, or by scheduling the meeting "leaders".

Another very positive idea would be to invite new people or attendees to participate in our meetings and make them to be in charge of taking notes, or keeping track of time. A "fresh" perspective could help us to see "blind spots" that we could be overlooking.

The advantages of applying these techniques lie in the fact that they promote different aspects:

COMMITMENT – Since people must get prepared to know the agenda before the meeting, and also if they do not attend or arrive late, they are not only affecting their “boss” but also the other people in their work team.

EMPOWERMENT –People who are not used to leading find themselves in the situation of taking a meeting to the end, leaving their comfort zone.

MOTIVATION – Having to think of something different, how to lead, how to ask the right questions, how to keep the rest of the team involved in the meeting, and cover all the points on the agenda, becomes such a great powerful professional challenge.

CONFIDENCE – By leading this type of event, people gain self-confidence and learn to project their personality within the organization, something that is key when making a career within it.

LEARNING – Seeing the different ways of conducting meetings, or the type of questions that are asked, the perspective of the entire team changes. Some people will ask more "human" questions, others more associated with personnel, or with numbers. Or even someone may come up with some idea or technique never tested within the organization. The important thing is that everyone learns during this process.

And in your experience, what other techniques can you think of to have more inclusive meetings? Share them in the comments!

Remember that you can follow me on Linkedin and Instagram to see more daily content of ComeOut! Las empresas también tienen que salir del clóset

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