What if… someone does not want to participate?


What you will see:

Rolling eyes:

  • Lack of eye contact with you, or used negative body language
  • Negative comments about the activity or the experience
  • Direct comments they do not want to participate

Likely causes:

  • Past experiences that were unproductive or unpleasant
  • Not understanding the purpose or value of what you are doing

How to prevent it:

  • Be clear about the purpose
  • Be sure the purpose of the activity is relevant to the group and the challenges of the group

What to do:

  • Unless it is critical, don’t make a big deal of it.
  • Remind them this is a group effort, everyone must participate in order for the activity to be beneficial
  • Find a way for the person to be involved, but not directly – perhaps a scorekeeper, timekeeper, etc.  Ask them to observe and provide feedback from an outsiders perspective during debriefing.

Adapted from Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers by Brian Miller.



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