checklistAt some meetings it seems like a minority of the participants do a majority of the talking. But urging the chatterboxes to shut up or coaxing the wallflowers to speak up is unlikely to solve the problem.

Leigh Thompson, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management and a team consultant offers three techniques to ensure broader participation by meeting attendees. One approach caught our attention–instead of brainstorming, try brainwriting. We’re partial to the description Debra Kaye put together over at the Build Network:

Step 1: Write just one sentence each. For the first five or 10 minutes of your next idea-generation meeting, every team member writes down one good idea or one proposed solution on, say, each of a small stack of index cards.

Step 2: Consider the idea, not the source. When the timer goes off, all cards are submitted anonymously and taped or thumbtacked to a wall for the whole team’s consideration.

Step 3: Put it to a blind vote. Team members signal their interest in an idea by marking it with a sticker or a Post-it note. Everyone gets a limited number of stickers and, if done right, the best ideas emerge quickly

What about you—what has been an effective tactic to ensure that everyone in a meeting is heard? Leave your answers in the comments