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Better Meetings(1): Quick tip to open up your meeting

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

If you ever experience a meeting where the cameras are switching off, and the engagement is lacking, with only the speakers voice being heard, and a deathly silence in response to "Does anyone have any questions?" then please try this simple technique... Just reverse the whole process of the meeting. It is as simple as that. First let's ask the question: "What questions would you each like answered in this meeting?" and we could open this up a little by asking "In the next 60 minutes what information do you need to get from this meeting to make the most benefit to you?" Then just make sure that you use the chat box, or the Q&A box and go through all the suggestions. Engage the attendees to explore their questions and talk to the 'non-responders' in a considerate way to encourage and reveal their thinking. The listeners in a meeting often have the best contributions.

After this - be brave and change your agenda! This way you have co-created the agenda and you may find that engagement in the meeting is far higher than before.

Towards the end of the meeting, check back in and make sure that all the questions have been answered - and where they have not perhaps agree some actions to explore the issue being raised and bring this back next time around. Let's also acknowledge that sometimes the information is flowing into a meeting and up the line. Perhaps this feels more like a business performance reporting session. A similar principle can apply. Let's just amend the question slightly and position the meeting in the right way: "In this meeting these are the key questions I need answering...(and explain)...; and while each person reports in, what questions will be most helpful for you to have some answers to, or thoughts around? Go through the same process of review and add to the agenda - or change it - as you think best. This is something that you can of course do face to face or in virtual meetings. It may even result in shorter meetings because you have identified what you want to get from the time you have together. Please let us know how it goes.

created by Steve.

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