The first 5 minutes of a meeting matter the most. This is exactly how you should spend them.
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- Elise Keith is the co-founder of Lucid Meetings and the author of "Where the Action Is: The Meetings That Make or Break Your Organization."
- She writes that the first five minutes of any meeting are crucial, and that if you want people to participate during a meeting, you have to make that clear up front.
- Prove that you welcome engagement by getting everyone involved right then and there: Everyone in the meeting should directly engage within the first five minutes.
- A successful meeting opener should also tell people that it's safe to speak up in this group. Doing this sets the frame for everything that follows and makes the meeting more productive.
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"How can I get my team to engage? I'm doing everything right, but they're still just sitting there."
I was talking with a frustrated leader at a healthcare facility. Her team meetings had always been lackluster, so she'd decided to fix them. She'd scoured the internet for best practices, then worked hard to get organized.
Courtesy of Elise Keith
Courtesy of Elise Keith
For the past month, she'd sent an agenda in advance of every meeting. She started precisely on time. She'd taken notes and ended on time too. And yet, after she talked through the agenda and they'd heard their first report, her requests for comments were met with crickets. No one had much to add. Many didn't seem to be paying attention at all.
Unfortunately, while she'd diligently followed all those "best practices," she'd missed the most important step.
If you want people to engage during a meeting, you have to make that clear up front. Great meetings get everyone engaged within the first five minutes.
Here are four ways to successfully open your meeting, and why it matters.
1. Bring everyone into the room
2. Set expectations
3. Give everyone practice engaging
4. Make it safe to engage
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