You don’t create psychological safety simply by stating, ‘This is a safe space’. An announcement may indicate your intent, but it’s of minimal value unless supported by solid behaviour. Here are two actions that will go a long way towards substantiating your claim.
1 Set rules at the start
In a virtual setting, let participants know the ‘netiquette’ for your session. Is it ‘camera on’, ‘camera off’, or ‘as-you-wish’? How and when can participants ask questions? Should we expect breakout rooms?
Similarly in an in-person event, ensure everyone knows the basic framework – show and describe the big picture for the day. Let everyone know when there will be breaks.
2 Ensure voices are heard
Early in your session, invite everyone to speak in a brief, turn-taking round, with a slot of equal length available to each participant. And welcome each contribution, so it is clear that speaking up is expected and appreciated.
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