Did we just promote to limit input of meeting participants? Really? Wasn’t this one of the big things we stand for at RocketMeetings? YES, we should definitely increase participation and leverage on the collective knowledge and power of all meeting participants! Here is why and when to limit input.

Less input can be better

Every manager knows is of vital importance to understand the link between input and motivation. Most managers have quickly learned this (the hard way). There is also a point when you don’t want people to give their input: here are some practical but essential guidelines:

Asking input generates expectations

People will expect that you do something with the input you asked from them. That is perfectly logical and should be OK. People get involved and like to hear back if their input has been of help or has lead to certain results. Asking for input normally leads to a broader view, it starts a process of divergence. There is the tip: don’t ask for input if are not looking for a broader view. With regard to decision making this means that if you are working your way to select the best option it’s probably best to refrain from asking additional input.

Don’t ask if...

Don’t ask for people's input if you are not planning to do anything with it or only plan to use it to your end. Others will quickly see through this tactical move and it will turn their backs on you. When you really need them they won’t be there for you. Being sincere will pay-off in the end.

Giving input is not always good

In the process of deciding for something it is good to get a broad view to get to the best decision. Once the decision is made things change. I have seen many cases after the decision is made people stand up to argue against the decision. This is especially true if you were part of the decision process. I know it sucks but mostly the best way forward is to respect decisions made. I’m not saying you should never have the chance to discuss an already made decision or propose to increase the quality of the decision making process. It’s just a fact that if you get in a pattern where it is acceptable the open the discussion again and again your wheels will get stuck. Even less important issues will eventually eat up so much time that others don’t see why that is so hard.

Any other business?

There are many meetings where the last point on the agenda states: “any other business”. This tend to be a round around the table to give all participants the opportunity to add something. This is a very special case for asking input. In at least 90% of the cases you can stop with this item right away. Stop. Why? Read this blog post.

Input is great! ...to a certain degree

Wrapping this up: Asking and giving input is great (see other post). There are exceptions. This article shows practical guidelines and examples when it’s probably better not to ask/give input.

Happy Meetings!