When brainstorming, we talk about not censoring new ideas and reserving judgment until specific periods where evaluations are being made. Not all censorship is blatant; often, it is much more subtle.

When you’re trying to get a group to actively participate and share new ideas, be on the lookout for these subtle forms of censorship:

  • Laughter when there hasn’t been any.
  • Silence where there hasn’t been any.
  • Visible disinterest from senior group members.
  • Participants physically or virtually removing themselves from the process.
  • Over-sharing knowledge that monopolizes the discussion or overwhelms others’ abilities to contribute.
  • A senior person arriving late and expecting to be caught up as the group waits.

If you see any of these behaviors going on, it’s likely that participants are getting the message that there’s less than genuine interest in the fruits of their efforts.