Equitable & Inclusive Meeting Design

Equitable and inclusive meetings start with thoughtful planning based on several key principles to encourage broader participation, create space for active listening, and deepen connections between participants.


  • Craft meetings that encourage more engagement, opportunities for contributions, and space for dissent.

  • Find a balance between voices that may tend to dominate in meetings versus other voices that often are not heard.

  • Practice distributed leadership and interrupt patterns of bias.

  • Emphasize the gains of the team versus the individual.

  • Support and sustain positive team culture.


  1. Establish clear group norms and agreements at the start of the meeting – and stick to them. When inclusive meeting conduct is codified, it puts offenders on notice and makes participants aware of their rights and responsibilities.

  2. Provide an agenda with a clear purpose in advance of the meeting so that participants have an equitable opportunity to prepare and attend to the multiple ways that people communicate and learn (e.g., affective, creative, practical, conceptual). To alleviate issues with “use-and-forget” agenda files, create a rolling agenda for each quarter.

  3. Rotate roles from meeting to meeting (e.g., facilitator, scribe, timekeeper) to leverage more engagement across the team.


  1. Prioritize video over phone calls. Face-to-face interactions are still powerful, even virtually, as you have the chance to read body language that might be missed during communication via phone or by email.

  2. Leverage video meeting platform tools like polling, Q&As, and virtual whiteboards. These tools create greater interactivity and provide different ways for participants to engage.

  3. Use a “water-cooler” conversation starter to create an opportunity for personal connection and to give everyone in the meeting a chance to speak.

  4. Be sure to check in with all participants before moving to a new item on the agenda. The facilitator should take special care to check in with those who have not spoken to see if they want to add anything.


"The design of a remote team meeting is how we set the virtual table for collaboration, decision-making, advancing priorities, and building team culture. It conveys what and who is valued.”

Kristen Vogt, NGLC