Communication styles can vary greatly amongst members of the same team. For example, during a brainstorming session, extroverts tend to quickly engage in order to talk ideas out, while introverts often process their ideas internally before speaking. A wealth of insight can be lost when extroverts dominate the conversation in meetings. It is important that leaders foster a team culture that gives everyone a license to voice their ideas and be heard by their teammates.
As you plan for your next meeting, try these three steps to make sure everyone is heard:
- Distribute 2-3 paper clips to each attendee.
- Introduce the discussion topic and explain the purpose of the paper clips.
- Each attendee is required to toss a paper clip in the middle of the table before speaking.
- Once an individual has submitted all of their paper clips, they may no longer speak until everyone else has used all of the paper clips in their possession.
- Debrief the experience.
- Who ran out of paper clips first? How did the inability to speak affect them?
- Who was the last to use all of their paper clips? How did the ability to have the floor affect them?
- What new ideas were discovered by allowing each individual the opportunity to "spill" their ideas?