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How you open the meeting is very important, as it has a great impact on the overall effectiveness of the meeting. Everybody has the responsibility to open the meeting on a positive note; however, the greatest responsibility does rest with the meeting leader, so I'll focus my training in this video with the leader in mind. There are five steps that you can take to open meetings positively. Number one is arrive early. Because part of the agenda is to start the meeting on time, you want to arrive well in advance of the meeting, I would say at least five minutes in advance and ready to go the moment everyone arrives.
The second step is to eliminate distractions. If you have a computer monitor that's on and may distract you, turn it off. If there's music playing, turn it off. If your meeting area is not as tidy as it could be, take a few moments to clean up and arrange the chairs. Make sure that any trash is put away. Any distraction to one of the five senses can get in the way of an effective meeting. Take a moment and make sure that anything distracting has been put away, so that you can focus 100% on the meeting.
The third step is to greet people when they arrive. Ever had the experience of going to a meeting where the leader is working on their computer when you walk in? What a missed opportunity! Instead establish a positive tone for your meeting by being ready to greet people warmly and personally before the meeting gets started. The fourth step deals with how you set the tone for the meeting. As the leader, the first words that you say and how you say them will set the tone for everything else that takes place.
Be positive. Share some good news. For example, you could begin by saying, "I just want to start by sharing some great feedback I got from a client yesterday. He sent me an email and said that Janet went above and beyond for them last week, and they love working with us." The final step is to take just a brief moment and talk about the purpose of the meeting. Go through the ground rules again or read the company vision, values, or mission statement. Whatever the purpose of your group meeting is, take a moment to remind all the participants of that purpose.
Use these five quick steps and you'll start the meetings on a positive note and get everybody ready to participate and take action.
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