Your meeting introduction sets the tone for your entire meeting and therefore is a crucial agenda item. We asked communication experts and studied recent publications to summarize the top tips for a great meeting start for you!
Start with an ice breaker to encourage team bonding
According to a tiny pulse study, team play and collaboration are the top trait employees love about their co-workers. The study also shows that employee happiness is more dependent on co-workers than direct managers. Helping your team to bond before a meeting can improve overall collaboration and happiness.
Here are some inspiration for team bonding activities:
- Creative ice breaker questions (find inspiration here and here). Questions like “What superhero:ine would you be and why?”, ”What sport did you play as a kid?” are great to get to know each other better in a fun way and can be used for social conversation starters after the meeting.
- Mini Games like kahoot quizzes, skribbl or QWOP start meetings with a laugh and energize the room. If you think mini games are a waste of time, you might reconsider after learning about this study: Humor and laughing at work meetings are positively related to team performance, both immediately and two years later.
- Social check-in: You can just ask everyone to share their energy or happiness level on a scale from 1-10, ask everyone around the room to describe how they feel in one word, or just let everyone share what’s on their mind. This way you can learn if there are emotional blockers that need to be addressed before you can start with your regular agenda.
Use Calvah’s anonymous feedback feature for your social check-in or to get feedback on your ice breaker / mini game. Respect, that there might be attendees who won’t feel safe to share stories that are too personal.
How to set your meeting up for productivity
Doodle’s The State of Meetings study shows that meeting productivity plummets when meetings are not well prepared and that in most meetings, people are not listening to each other. When meeting attendees feel a meeting isn’t working for them, they end up bringing other work and multi-tasking rather than owning the conversation.
Here are a two tips on how to start your meetings productively:
- Reading your pre-read together. Amazon meetings are famous for using a 6-page long pre-read in the beginning of each meeting. This way every attendee has the same level of information and the chance to ask clarifying questions ahead of the conversation. This strategy is especially effective if attendees usually come to your meetings unprepared.
- Break down your meeting goal. Start with a summary of what your meeting is about, why you invited the attendees and what you want to achieve in this meeting and how you’ll measure it. Then ask around the room if anyone has questions or additions to your meeting goal.