Starting off a meeting strongly ensures that everyone enjoys and benefits from the meeting. The best way to starting a meeting strongly is by taking charge and thinking of what you need to accomplish at the meeting.
As usual, a bad first impression doesn’t make you look good. You end up paying a huge price if you don’t make a strong first impression with the people you are having a meeting with.
You need to consider that your meetings also register an impression on the mind of the participants. Do you restart meetings because of stragglers? Do participants hijack the meeting from you Midway? Is your meeting boring? These are the questions that should be on your mind as you go about setting that meeting.
A good productive meeting definitely must start with a strong opening. Having your meeting get a good start is basically an overture. It helps you introduce the topics you want to discuss and help you set the tone for the meeting. A good opening is like a preview of what to expect from your meeting. Below is a list of the right ways to start a meeting.
Make the purpose of the meeting clear.
Have you ever been in a meeting and you feel lost? Do you ever go to a meeting and wonder what is going on? This is the best way to ensure your participants don’t feel like we described above. Clearly, state the purpose of the meeting before the meeting gets started. State the purpose of the meeting at the start of the meeting. Pass the message across on the agenda. Ensure that no one participating in the meeting doesn’t know why he is there.
The purpose of each agenda item should be clearly stated. While the agenda items of a meeting are usually similar in nature, the conversation around each item tends to be different. So, it is important to be specific about the goals and objectives of each item.
Let your participants know the level of engagement you expect them to contribute. You don’t want to carry anyone throughout the whole meeting. Let them filter their contributions. This is a good way of setting the tone right when the meeting begins.
Let the ground rules be known before the start of the meeting. At the start of the meeting, reiterate the rules. Ensure that your team discusses the rules. This is a good way to ensure that they will abide by the rules.
Head off passive-aggressive behavior.
Do you ever wonder why a lot of people abhor meetings? It is because meetings tend to go on for a long time without really addressing the real issues they are meant to solve. Meetings can be a total waste of your time if you are not careful. Let all the issues be addressed at the meeting. Discourage the notion of meeting-after-the-meeting or meeting-before-the-meeting. It is a passive-aggressive behavior that gets nothing done.
Let everyone contribute appropriately to the meeting. You can ensure this by engaging in a roundtable. However, if your roundtable is ineffective and wastes your time, get rid of the approach and adopt one that works for you. Don’t go easy on time limits. Stop people from going off-track and bring the meeting back to the important topics.
If you attend a lot of meetings, you should be good at knowing what a bad meeting looks like in the first couple of minutes. If it’s going to be a good and productive meeting, you can also tell in the same period.
This should propel you to make an impressive start to any meeting you are in charge of. Let people have a great first impression and direct their focus to the agenda items. Earn a great reputation for your meetings and focus on the important things. Look out for time-sucks and ensure that people don’t leave your meeting without adding value to the meeting and themselves.