Maybe because so many readers of this blog are silent, their circumstances and ideas mute to me, I appreciate ideas for how to let people safely express themselves (See my post of Feb. 18, 2009: ten suggestions for how to hear from everyone in a group; and Feb. 1, 2006: how to reduce the chilling effect.).
One tool is anonymous voting software (See my post of March 12, 2006: electronic voting; and April 18, 2005: voting software.). I wrote an article about voting software –>
Another set of tools rely on written comments during meetings (See my post of March 23, 2009: stepladder technique; April 6, 2009: brain-writing technique for gathering ideas; March 15, 2009: recipe cards with anonymous comments; and April 27, 2009: eleven suggestions for brainstorming.).
A couple of posts address aids for the socially shy lawyer (See my post of Sept. 28, 2007: name tags at meetings that light up when two people share an interest; and Jan. 9, 2009: confiding in a family or arms-length co-workers.).
After meetings you can still coax the reticent to offer their ideas (See my post of May 8, 2008: polling after Microsoft meetings.). Most broadly to tap the silent majority, use confidential surveys (See my post of Dec. 26, 2007: 360˚ instruments with 5 references; and May 2, 2008: Microsoft’s technique.).