“Yes, but if people are afraid to participate, afraid to contribute their ideas in a meeting, how do you deal with that?” Reggie asked.
“Do your team members have ideas?” I responded.
“Well, yes, some sort of an ideas.”
“So, the problem is, to get the idea out of their head, with zero possibility that it might be rejected by the group? How would you do that?” I stared at Reggie while I reached over and pulled a pen out of my pocket and set it on the table.
“Get them to write their idea down?” Reggie guessed. I nodded. “But still, how do you get them to share their ideas with each other, with the group?”
“It’s too late, the idea is already out of their head. By the way, what happens to the quality of any idea as it moves from the mind to a piece of paper?”
“Well, it improves.”
“So, now, each person owns a much improved idea on a piece of paper in front of them. Divide the group into teams of two or three and have them share their idea with that small group. I guarantee, there will be no hesitation in that small group.
“The next step is to have the small groups report their ideas to the large group. The quality of ideas will be very high and everyone will have participated. Remember, the purpose of this meeting was simply to get your people discussing ideas with each other.”