Tips for Improving Team Participation in Meetings

Updated on: 12 October 2023 | 8 min read
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Meetings are essential when it comes to sharing ideas, making decisions, and fostering team synergy. However, meeting participation isn’t just about showing up; it’s about actively engaging, contributing meaningfully, and making sure that your time and expertise are effectively used.

Whether you’re in a conference room or joining virtually, understanding the art of meeting participation can be a game-changer for the success of your projects. In this guide, we’ll explore the key principles, strategies, and etiquettes that will help you become a valued meeting participant.

What is Meeting Participation

Meeting participation refers to the active and constructive involvement of individuals in a group or team meeting. It involves sharing ideas, information, and insights, as well as actively listening to others, collaborating, and helping make decisions. Effective meeting participation is essential for productive and successful meetings, as it makes sure that the gathering serves its purpose, whether it’s for sharing information, brainstorming, problem-solving, decision-making, or planning.

Key aspects of meeting participation include;

  • Being prepared
  • Staying engaged
  • Communicating clearly
  • Respecting others' contributions

How to Improve Meeting Participation

These tips will help you create an environment that fosters active participation, leading to more productive and successful meetings.

Clear objectives

Start your meeting by setting clear and specific objectives. Make sure everyone knows what you’re trying to accomplish. When everyone understands the goals, they can contribute more meaningfully to the discussion.

Structured agendas

Create a well-structured agenda that outlines the meeting’s flow. Share this agenda in advance to allow participants to get ready. Make sure to include time allocations for each topic to keep everything on track.


Encourage participants to prepare for the meeting by reviewing the agenda and any materials given to them. Preparing this way allows for more informed discussions and lets everyone contribute effectively.


Create an inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts. Set ground rules for respectful communication, and actively seek input from all participants to make sure diverse perspectives are heard.

Participation techniques

Use various interactive techniques to engage participants. Examples include brainstorming, where everyone contributes ideas, and small group discussions that lets explore topics in-depth. These techniques keep participants involved and foster creativity.


Appoint a skilled facilitator to lead the meeting. A facilitator can guide discussions, manage interruptions, and make sure that everyone has an opportunity to speak. Their role is important in maintaining order and engaging participants.

Visual aids

Use visual aids like slides or diagrams to present complex information in a more engaging and understandable manner. Visuals can help participants grasp ideas more easily and facilitate discussion.

Start with ice breakers

Begin meetings with ice breakers. These short and fun exercises help relax participants and set a friendly tone. They also promote interaction and engagement, making participants more open to participation.

Active listening

Encourage participants to actively listen to others and respond thoughtfully. Avoid interrupting speakers and allow them to finish their thoughts, creating a respectful and engaging atmosphere.


Create a culture of curiosity by welcoming questions and encouraging participants to seek clarification when needed. All doubts will be addressed in this way, which encourages open dialogue.

Importance of Team Participation in the Meeting

Team participation in meetings is not just about attending; it’s about actively engaging, sharing ideas, and working collaboratively. This not only benefits the team’s overall performance but also helps individuals grow and contribute effectively to the organization’s success.

  • Diverse perspectives: When team members actively participate, they bring unique perspectives and insights to the table. This diversity of thought can lead to well-rounded discussions and innovative solutions to problems.

  • Improve communication: Effective meeting participation leads to better communication among team members. It makes sure that everyone understands the goals, tasks, and expectations, minimizing misunderstandings and conflicts.

  • Collective decision-making: Meetings often involve decision-making. When team members participate, decisions are made collectively, which can lead to informed and better choices. It also helps distribute responsibility for these decisions across the team.

  • Increased engagement and commitment: Actively participating in meetings makes team members feel more engaged and committed to the team’s objectives. They have a sense of ownership and responsibility, which can boost motivation and productivity.

  • Problem-solving: Meetings are a platform to address issues and find solutions. When team members actively participate in problem-solving discussions, it can lead to more effective and efficient resolutions.

  • Accountability: Actively participating team members are more likely to hold themselves and others accountable for their roles and responsibilities, making sure that tasks are completed on time.

Challenges in Meeting Participation

Teams often face many challenges when trying to streamline meeting participation. You need a combination of strategies to deal with these challenges, like setting clear meeting objectives, implementing participation techniques, providing training, and fostering an inclusive culture.

  • Lack of engagement: Team members may struggle to stay engaged or focused during meetings, especially when meetings are long or recurring. Keep meetings focused, have a clear agenda, and use interactive participation techniques to keep participants engaged.

  • Dominant voices: Some participants may dominate discussions, while others struggle to get a word in, leading to imbalanced participation. Encourage quieter team members to speak up and set ground rules for balanced participation.

  • Remote work: Online meetings can present challenges, including technical issues, distractions, and difficulties reading non-verbal cues. Provide clear guidelines for virtual meetings, ensure technical support, and use video to maintain engagement and non-verbal cues.

  • Lack of preparation: Participants may not prepare enough before meetings, which can lead to unproductive discussions. Share materials in advance, set expectations for pre-meeting preparation, and hold participants accountable for readiness.

  • Communication styles: Team members have different communication styles, and this can lead to misunderstandings and challenge effective participation. Promote understanding and tolerance of different communication styles.

  • Cultural and language differences: In diverse teams, language barriers and cultural differences can affect the comfort and ability of participants to contribute. Encourage open communication, provide language support as needed, and respect cultural differences.

  • Meeting fatigue: Teams that have frequent meetings may suffer from “meeting fatigue,” leading to lack of enthusiasm and engagement. Examine whether recurring meetings are necessary, combine topics when possible, and try new communication methods.

How to Use Creately to Increase Meeting Participation in Teams

Visual collaboration platforms like Creately can significantly boost meeting participation by providing a shared virtual workspace where team members can collaborate in real-time. Here’s how to use it effectively to improve participation.

1. Pre-meeting preparation

Before the meeting, create a Creately workspace based on the meeting agenda and objectives. Share this with participants in advance so they can familiarize themselves with the structure.

Effective Workshop Template for Meeting Participation
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Effective Workshop Template

2. Interactive icebreakers

Start your meeting with an interactive icebreaker template available on Creately. For example, you can have participants add virtual sticky notes with their names and a fun fact about themselves. This promotes engagement from the beginning.

Icebreaker Template for Meeting Participation
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Icebreaker Template

3. Structured agendas

Use the workspace to create the meeting agenda visually. Include sections for each agenda item, and add interactive elements like checklists, timelines, or decision-making frameworks.

Meeting Agenda Template for Meeting Participation
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Meeting Agenda Template

4. Collaborative brainstorming

Encourage participants to brainstorm ideas and solutions directly in the workspace. You can use a brainstorming template or an idea board to collect ideas from everyone.

Brainstorming Template for Meeting Participation
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5. Visualize information

Use charts, diagrams, and visual techniques to make complex information more understandable. Whether it’s flowcharts, diagrams, or concept maps, Creately offers a range of shape libraries to create visuals to help convey your ideas effectively.

6. Real-time collaboration

Participants can collaborate in real-time on Creately’s shared canvas using multi-cursor editing and synced previews. This means that they can simultaneously add comments, annotations, and make changes, fostering active and immediate participation.

7. Voting and prioritization

Creately offers features like visual prioritization grids, dot voting and contextual comments for voting and prioritizing ideas. Use these features to collectively make decisions and identify the most important action items.

Prioritization Grid for Meeting Participation
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Prioritization Grid Template

8. Integrate with meeting platforms

Creately’s Microsoft Teams integration allows participants to access the Creately workspace directly from the Teams environment. This makes it easy for everyone to join and engage in collaborative activities without needing to switch between platforms. While participants can simultaneously edit, add comments, and engage in discussions, making the meeting more interactive, they can even split into smaller groups with the breakout room functionality to work on specific tasks or topics.

9. Summarize and action items

Conclude the meeting by summarizing key takeaways and assigning action items and setting due dates directly on the Creately workspace with shape data.

Action Plan Template for Meeting Participation
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Action Plan Template

In summary, active meeting participation is key for successful meetings. Use clear objectives, structured agendas, and interactive methods to make meetings productive. Encourage participation, responsibility, and ongoing improvement to help your team reach its goals efficiently and enthusiastically.

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Amanda Athuraliya Communications Specialist

Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist/content writer at Creately, online diagramming and collaboration tool. She is an avid reader, a budding writer and a passionate researcher who loves to write about all kinds of topics.

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