As a teacher, I never called on kids in class. When I wrote a simulation game for a course on State and Local Government, I included passive roles for students who felt uncomfortable talking to the class - or even to individual classmates.

I found a way for less outgoing people to learn. Speakers at meetings should do the same.

Yet, many of them insist on forcing meeting attendees to "participate," even when many - sometimes most - don't want to.

People learn in a variety of ways and those of us who design and deliver learning experiences should understand and accomodate the various educational strategies in the marketplace.

Don't ask members of the audience to introduce themselves to seatmates. For some, it's an ice maker, not an ice breaker. Outgoing people may choose to do that on their own. Other will choose not to.

Don't direct members of the audience to stand up and be props for your manipulative exercises. One speaker ended a session by directing everyone to rise and play a little game - providing herself with a standing ovation at the finish.

Opinion leaders don't always want to listen. For them, an interactive session is very appropriate. Most people, though, are not opinion leaders. They do want to listen. They'll talk when they want to, not when someone tells them to.

If a meeting is a dud, it's often because the presenters are duds. Get better presenters and many people will be very satisifed.