This other day I’m in another meeting, actually an enjoyable one with a charity, with a couple employees and about 10 volunteers. And at some point we’re trying to figure it out. The it being, why aren’t all volunteers on the project willing to do a certain task?
So I try steering the conversation by considering volunteer motivations and conversely their reservations. This gets a couple useful additions from others. But we’re still not there yet and at the hour mark there’s a few who’ve been resolutely silent: about four.
Addressing two of them, but really asking at the shyest-looking, I ask how they feel about this. I press them a bit. She shuffles, a bit.
“Well, I was worried because I would share too much and then everyone else would feel overwhelmed.”
The room’s reaction: “Woh!”
So this one volunteer could have contributed all this time – but she was worried, worried about being too much.
In most meetings of a certain size there’s always one or two people like that who sit there suspiciously quietly. Others maybe thinking they’re not team players; or at least blurt out a few words to avoid suspicion. And so often because persons have good reason to feel left on the margins and so don’t speak.
We can do better: