One sign of a healthy forum is that all members are willing, even eager, to explore their toughest issues and highest aspirations in forum.
While that is the ideal, some forums find that members are reluctant to present, or are always deferring to others. To encourage more members to step forward, first ask all members at every meeting to complete one of these sentences:
If I was to present today, I would explore…
I would appreciate hearing the group’s experience that can help me think about…
Then, working with that list, don’t just wait or plead for a volunteer. Instead call on a full repertoire of presentation selection methods including:
- Voting: During a break, each member gets to cast three votes for the topic/presenter. Your votes can go all to your own topic, all to another member, or be divided as you wish. The member with the most votes becomes today’s presenter. This method can be done in the open (everyone can see which topics are getting the most votes) or anonymously (put your votes on a separate piece of paper, and the moderator then counts up the votes).
- Secret ballot: Each member writes on a paper the name of the person they would most like to see present today. Again, you can vote for yourself or someone else. The moderate collects and counts the papers. The member with the most votes is invited to present, either on the topic they proposed for the parking lot, or something else of their choosing.
- Finger shoot: All members are asked simultaneously to hold out between one and five fingers. Five = I must present today. Four = I want to present. Three = I would like to present. Two = I don’t need to present. One = I don’t want to present.
- Put in place a rotation of one presenter scheduled in advance, and one chosen on the day of the meeting. The scheduled sequence is reviewed monthly and presenters may be moved forward or backwards in the queue based on the urgency and importance of issues.