Do you have to run a meeting on Monday morning or Friday afternoon? Chances are that participants have a lot on their mind and are not motivated to have a meeting. This article gives you 6 techniques to start a meeting in a powerful way so that it’s more effective, enjoyable and fun!
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First meetings of the day are often challenging. Some people are not quite awake, others have something on their mind and are checking email. It’s up to you to start the meeting, use time efficiently, stay focused and connect people.
This article gives you 6 techniques to start a meeting powerful so you can have an effective meeting.
To create an uplifting atmosphere you can play some music at the beginning of the meeting. Participants can have different mindsets when they arrive at a meeting. Music can help you if you want to create a specific atmosphere at the beginning of a meeting. Music also has positive benefits for your brain. You can get more energetic (when there’s dance music on), happier (with upbeat music) or focused (with piano music). Please find a list of my music to perform at peak level here.
As an alternative, you can start a meeting with an inspirational video clip to create a certain mindset. Here you can find some inspirational video clips.
For both music and video, I would be hold back on using it too often before meetings. It is powerful when it is a surprise. This technique doesn’t take long, but keep in mind your colleagues who are working in offices nearby…
2. Weekend report
At the beginning of a meeting, ask attendees to give a report of their weekend, holiday or a recent business trip. They should tell about what they’ve done, experienced or about the results of a sports match of their children. If someone came back from a business trip, invite her or him to share what they’ve seen, who they’ve met and what they’ve observed.
This technique can take quite some time, but a benefit of this approach is that participants get to know each other better and connect. If you know each other better, it’s easier to collaborate. Another benefit is that you’ll involve everyone in the meeting in a fun way. Apparently, there is a correlation between working in fun environments and higher performance with conversations about family and funny experiences. So, try to do this regularly.
3. Mind dump
This technique is ideal when people have a lot on their mind. The thoughts they have will distract them from the content of the meeting and participate less (passive). That is a waste of their time (and yours).
If you have a face to face meeting, start with asking participants to jot down on post-its/in their notebook what is on their minds (can be both on a professional or a private level). Before you start with the rest of the meeting, ask participants to share the action/item where they need help with. They should feel free to share whatever they want.
For virtual meetings, you can use the whiteboard function in Skype: allow 5 min during which people can type what is on their mind. The chair of the meeting can call out items that are written down on the whiteboard to see whether people can help each other.
If you use this mind dump technique, you will acknowledge people and their thoughts so that they’ll feel more included in the meeting. Also, people will experience that they’re not alone and that help is available.
You can do this exercise often. Be aware that this item will not dominate the agenda. Do address urgent thoughts and make agreements on next steps to take. Discuss other thoughts at another meeting or get together.
In line with the previous technique, you can also ask participants what they want. This is especially good when you’re about to discuss a difficult issue or when you can’t get ahead with a certain item.
By asking attendees this you’re giving attention to what they want and what outcome they would like. Again, you’re acknowledging and including the participants. What happens is that you’re inviting them to connect with their creativity, their feelings and their ideal. This higher consciousness is more powerful than using the mind alone because by doing this, participants make contact with their core potential.
The technique is based on “the elevator” technique. For more information, please read my article on how core reflection can help you to get further and my article on character strengths.
You can do this exercise often. Again, make sure it doesn’t take too much time (or reserve extra time for it).
A powerful technique to start a meeting is by telling what you’re grateful for. This can be for the good coffee or the comfortable chair. Better is to express your gratitude for someone else. Tell a certain participant what you appreciate most about her or him. People have a yearning to be acknowledged, seen and appreciated. Take a moment to do this and invite others to do so as well.
I am sure this will elevate the consciousness of your meeting and make it more powerful since there are better connections. If participants are reluctant to say it out aloud, invite them to write it on a piece of paper and give it to their colleague. Make sure that the participants who are receiving an acknowledgement, accept and thank the other for the compliment.
You can use this technique when there’s a need to express acknowledge towards participants and to create better connections. I experience more joy and I am more energetic when gratitude is expressed and received. I become more open and curious and there is no more room for anxiousness or fear when there’s gratitude.
Something completely different is to start the meeting with a moment of silence. By doing this, you can invite participants to “land” and focus on this moment and the meeting. You can read an inspirational quote before the silence.
I am a member of a group and before meetings we chant a mantra . This is a natural and strong way to get in a higher state of consciousness so that the meeting will be more harmonious, effective and in line what needs to be done. I can imagine that this is not suitable for all meetings, but a moment of silence and reflection will surely be of benefit. Next, you could proceed with technique 3 and 4 to share thoughts and ideals.
Depending on the group or the setting, you can do this before every meeting to get more focus. It doesn’t have to take much time.
The techniques given above will contribute to positivity and motivation for powerful meetings. I am sure that there are many more techniques.
How do you start meetings? Let me know in the comment field below. I and the other readers of this article are looking forward to reading from you!
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(1)Het groot Werkvormen boek, deel 2, Sasja Dirkse-Hulscher, Angela Talen, Maaike Kester
(2)Trillion Dollar Coach, Eric Schmidt et al.