Be aware consumer representatives may find meetings intimidating and at times disempowering. Therefore, it is important for the Chair and everyone on the committee to provide support and undertake good meeting practices from the beginning.
- Ensure everyone has an opportunity to speak and participate in discussions.
- Allow people time to ask questions and express their views.
- Listen and explore everyone’s ideas equally.
- Allow time for explanations and for people to process information and think about their response.
- Avoid speaking for others – encourage people to speak on their own behalf.
- Be aware it may take several meetings before people feel confident to speak up and have their say.
- Don’t jump to conclusions about what a person is saying or speak before they finish.
- Be mindful of your body language, tone of voice and other gestures that may influence a person’s decision.
- Use open-ended questions rather than “yes/no” type questions.
- Let people know it is ok to disagree.
- Speak to the consumer representative with a disability not their support worker or mentor.
Meeting Tips from consumer advocates:
Chapter 5. Inclusive Meetings
Menu: Consumer Participation Kit