What can you do when one person is dominating the discussion?

  • “Thank you for your opinion, now I’d like to hear from others in the group”

  • If they’re still not getting the point - “You have made your point, but now we need to move on”

  • Members can only speak once to the issue -  have a time limit per person

  • Ask that a motion be put forward to control the discussion

What are some things you can say when a person is being negative?

  •  “What makes you feel that way?” or “Does anyone else feel that way?”

  • “I understand that that was your experience in the past, but things have changed and it’s worth giving this idea another try”

  • “You don’t seem to like any of the solutions that are proposed. What solution would you suggest instead?”

What can you do when members are disregarding their previously agreed to meeting norms/rules?

  •  Remind them of the norms they have already agreed to. For example....“Joe, you keep interrupting Mary as she’s trying to make her points. As you know, we all agreed that we would respect each other’s opinions and not interrupt when someone was speaking”

  • Chair and board members need to ensure these norms/rules are being adhered to

What can you do if there is little or no participation from the members at the meeting?

  •  “No one seems to have an opinion on the topic we’re discussing... why is that?”

  • “Is there something else you feel we should be discussing instead?”

  • “I would like to hear your opinion on this, Joe”

  • Change dynamics - rearrange seating

  • Peer pressure or fear of speaking - create a safe environment to share ideas

What can you do to get a discussion back on track?

  • Use motions or parliamentary procedure to control debates and side-bar conversations

  • Remind speakers to focus on the topic at hand

  • Put other topics in the “parking lot” for future discussion

  • “Thanks for your comment, but we need to get back to our discussion topic of.....”

What can you do when meetings are being poorly attended?

  • Talk to people to find out why? "I‘m concerned that meeting attendance is dropping. Do you have any thoughts on what I could do as chair to boost meeting attendance?"

  • “Is the meeting a bad time for you or are the meetings themselves the problem?”

  • "We've been missing your ideas at the meeting.” - encourage participation

  • Have lunch or supper meetings - 'eat and meet’ for busy schedules!

  • Recruit new people to your committees to provide new ideas and perspectives

  • Term limits for chairs and board members to engage members and develop new leaders

 Make meetings FUN!