Poor Meetings -
Low Participation
The "Quiet" Personality

The "Quiet" Personality
The "quiet" personality is a great internal processor of information. These people are excellent listeners, and prefer to think through concepts and ideas completely before verbalizing them. This is why they appear "quiet" to others, especially the more outgoing types.

The downside of this type is that others may see the person as aloof, not interested, stupid, or just not a team player. Quite the contrary, their ability to absorb and process information is an asset to the team. When the discussion is active, however, these people may not inject their thoughts and their contributions may be lost to the team. Understanding this personality, team members should do the following:

1. First, since the quiet person prefers to process information in advance of verbalizing it, send out the agenda a day or two in advance of the meeting. This will allow these types to be better prepared for the discussion.

2. Second, during meetings, watch these people for signals (body language) that they would like to talk, then invite them directly into the discussion. You may have to shut down the strong talkers first by gatekeeping.

Gatekeeping is simply "closing the gate" on the mouth of the talker so that it can be opened on another person who wants to contribute to the conversation. Some teams use a time-out sign with their hands to signify that the talker should stop.

3. Third, talk with the quiet people and encourage them to participate more. Their contributions are valuable.

4. Fourth, address the subject of equal participation in the team's Code of Conduct !

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