Board meetings function best when everyone contributes. However, that doesn’t always happen. Take a moment to think about why you don’t raise your hand. Do you fear you might ruffle a few feathers? Are there outspoken people dominating the conversation? Are you simply on the shy side?

Regardless of your reason for holding back, it’s in the best interest of your association that you don’t. You have valuable ideas and opinions and there’s no way you’re taking the time to attend for the free coffee and pastries! If you keep silent, you’re depriving the organization of your important insights. Don’t hold your association back—speak up.

Here are a few things that we hope will convince you to contribute.

It’s okay to raise questions

Too often, meeting attendees stay silent because they believe raising a query reveals ignorance or weakness. Put that worry out of your mind. Asking a question demonstrates you care about the association’s future direction. It also shows you’re curious about solutions that could take the organization forward. What’s more, odds are someone else in the room has had that same concern. You’re in good company.

Break up the domination

We’ve seen it countless times, and we imagine you might have, too. A room is full of people, but only a handful are speaking, over and over. That means only their perspective is being heard and recorded in the minutes. If you don’t add to the meeting, the association’s diversity will be stifled.

Listening is key

Among the chatter-dominating crowd we mentioned above, you’re likely to find people who are so focused on what they’re going to say that they don’t listen to what others are saying. A board meeting is more than a series of monologues—it’s an interactive conversation. It is important that you listen to what is said because it will help ensure you’re asking the right questions, intelligently.

Encourage others

Hopefully, your association isn’t plagued by judgy members and staff. It’s rare, but it happens: questions met with laughs, answers with eye rolls, and people bold enough to bring up a challenging point getting shut down. The chair holds the power to nip such negative meeting behavior in the bud by setting ground rules that discourage interruption or side conversations. They also can be diplomatic in asking a long-winded board member to wrap it up so a new person can speak. Even if you’re not at the head of the table, you can contribute to a positive meeting environment.

Does your association need assistance in operating diverse, productive and positive meetings? That’s why Frontline is here. Our association management experts have a wealth of experience in turning less-than-productive meetings around. Connect with us, and we’ll help you transform your meeting environment.