Why people don't participate in meetings

When people don’t participate in meetings, it means they:

  1. Lack interest
  2. Lack context
  3. Lack trust

Lack interest

A lack of interest means participants are indifferent about the topic. The moderator should motivate participants so they feel compelled to engage in the discussion instead of doing something else. Selling is key to imparting the “why” of the meeting.

Lack context

A lack of context means participants aren’t familiar with the topic. The moderator should inform the participants by sharing a clear and structured agenda. Preparation is key to clarifying the “what” of the meeting.

Lack trust

A lack of trust means participants don’t feel safe talking about the topic. The moderator should create a secure environment so people feel protected from embarrassment and risks. Here, it’s about “how” the meeting is conducted that ensures psychological safety.


Once you have all three ingredients, you can achieve productive meetings. Do you agree or disagree with the reasons above? Let me know in the comment section below.

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