disjointed wrote:So the team I've been assigned to has many people of differing capacities, some people have done research and some haven't and so have more or less to contribute in meetings.
We have not formally picked team leaders as suggested and our meetings have not led anywhere productive yet because the people that are being assertive and taking control of the discussion in general have the least to contribute.
Because I have the most research in the subject and have the most experience with these conferences, I tried to direct the meeting towards what actually needs to be discussed and open up the room for people to speak.
Instead of my intended result, the people I wanted to speak felt put on the spot and didn't speak much, and the assertive know nothings who literally did not know the basics of the subject have privately criticized me for dominating the "conversation".
I'm doing quite a bit of team leading, facilitation, chairing etc. so just a few pointers you might find helpful....
First of all, as a group you have to formally decide on a team leader who is guiding the discussion (which does not mean dominating content) and a rapporteur who takes notes and will report back to the plenary. Having roles clear helps a lot with keeping discussions on track.
Second step is setting ground rules - being on time, no interrupting, mobiles on silence, everybody should participate ... this sort of thing. Normally this would be done by the team leader asking for suggestions. It is also helpful to have a 'parking lot', a place where you can note down issues that come up but are distracting from the discussion at hand. Parking them acknowledges that they are there and they can be handled later on. In a few meetings, participants also had 'red cards' that they could hold up when somebody was domineering, disruptive or just going on and on... it rarely happened that anybody would use them, but just having the possibility helped keep things on track.
Thirdly, it may be good at this stage to clarify again and get consensus on the task at hand and the steps to complete it.
Finally, don't assume that people who are no researchers don't have anything to contribute. In all teams you have people with a variety of competencies, views and personalities. They all have something important to contribute. And they will, if they are in an environment where they feel valued and accepted.