All the meeting prep is done, and the participants are arriving for the meeting. As meeting leader, how do you kick things off?
A positive tone
Open the meeting by setting a positive tone. People are naturally more comfortable once they know who you are, and who everyone else is. Opening with introductions is a great way to break the ice.
Use praise and appreciation to set a positive tone. For example, thank everyone for making it to the meeting despite the bad weather — and the traffic. Make it clear what you’d like the meeting to achieve. For example, “I hope this meeting helps to resolve our staff retention problem…” This sets a positive goal for the meeting. And encourages the participants to contribute toward the goal.
Meetings are a team effort
Even when you’re the leader, meetings are a team effort. Asking the speakers to help manage the group’s time by sticking to the agenda, for example, asserts a positive influence over the meeting.
Now that you’ve set a positive tone, state the purpose of the meeting. For instance, you’ve scheduled the meeting to discuss an upcoming merger. Don’t just launch into the agenda at this point.
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