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Make Your Meeting More Inclusive

Learn how to create a positive team environment through inclusive meetings.

Brief Summary

In the day-to-day business, meetings are a good microcosm of your organizational culture. Meetings are both the potential building blocks of inclusion in your culture and indicators of what’s going on, right now.

Inclusion is ultimately comprised of an individual’s experience of everyday interactions. An inclusive meeting is when a diverse group of people each feel as though they are seen, represented, respected, and valued during a meeting. There’s a safe space where everybody feels comfortable and empowered.

To fully leverage the value of your diversity, you need to commit to practices of inclusion. Meetings are a key opportunity for practical adjustments that normalize inclusion in your organization. Inclusive meetings help to create a positive team environment in which team members feel psychologically safe and maximize effectiveness. Yet, without intentionality, meetings can be are notorious for distorted power dynamics and bias.


Research shows that only 35% of employees report feeling consistently comfortable contributing in meetings.

Another study found that People of Color, women and older employees are less likely to feel comfortable speaking in meetings compared with their white peers  men and Gen Z employees, respectively.

Yet another study revealed that women are more than twice as likely to be interrupted in group dialogue, particularly in industries and organizations that are male-dominated.


Building the equitable work culture begins with inclusive meetings. If you’re a leader who wants to benefit from the talent of every member of your team, focus on the three following areas:

  • Before the meeting even begins, foster psychological safety.
  • During the meeting itself, manage conduct: actively bring all voices into the conversation.
  • After the meeting, commit to inclusion: define what it means and how looks like, and hold your team accountable.
dei progress

Proposed Actions

  • Prepare and share an agenda in advance to focus the meeting and encourage idea-sharing.
  • Plan intentionally: invite attendees with diverse perspectives; consider timing and meeting length to accommodate different time zones; promote seating arrangements to avoid hierarchy; prove more than one way to contribute.
  • Foster inclusivity by starting meetings with introductions and establishing ground rules for respectful discussions.
  • Introduce a facilitator to manage air time, address interruptions, amplify voices/comments that are ignored/co-opted; include opposing views.
  • Rotate clear roles such as note-taker or facilitator to avoid task imbalance.
  • Lead by example, demonstrating inclusive behaviors such as active listening, curiosity, and promoting transparency, to set the tone for an inclusive meeting environment.

Valued Guidance

Implementation Plan

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Download the PDF version of this DEI Initiative

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