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How to Begin Great Meetings

April 26, 2011
by Scott Levitt ·  

4 Great Ways to Open a Meeting

Engage people immediately with these techniques

4 meeting starters How many office meetings have you been to that left you feeling energized, inspired, and fully engaged in thought? You can probably count the number on one hand. Meetings are notoriously abused because they create the impression that work is being done. Seth Godin has spoken extensively on this topic, and has a great article titled “Getting serious about your meeting problem” which you should definitely read if you want to improve your meetings.

If you do have to hold a meeting, you should do your best to engage your participants right away. Rather than a ho-hum review of an agenda, why not kick it off with one of these attention grabbing methods?

1. Cite a shocking statistic relevant to the meeting topic. Odds are you’re addressing a problem or facing a group challenge in your meeting. Is there a statistic you can find which will focus attention? If you can find one that gets a “Wow” out of your participants, you’re on the right track.

2. Create a picture in their mind. Beginning a meeting with a strong, visual description can engage your participants. “Picture this…” is one way to begin the conversation. Place them in a scene at the center of a situation. Engage the senses with brief, effective description– sight, smell, hearing, touch, etc.

3. Share a great quote. This is one we use all the time in the Tuesday Tactics newsletter and it also works well in meetings. A bit of wisdom, well said, is great for drawing people into the meeting. The catch, though? It must be relevant to the topic of the meeting. Otherwise, you’re just wasting precious minutes.

4. Ask a question. Questions get debate going, they get discussion flowing. Even if they’re rhetorical questions which have obvious answers, they can move people’s minds into the topic at hand.

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