Set The Tone
People generally understand that starting a presentation with both a smile and an engaging introduction is a good way to get – and maintain – audience attention. They get it.
But do we practice the same principles with a different kind of audience – at meetings? Many meetings are launched with “Right, let’s get started.” Or there’s “OK, first up, where are we with….” Or my favourite, “Where’s John?! It would be great to start on time just for once…!”
These are “normal” starts to a gathering, but not necessarily effective ones. Meetings are opportunities to see your team, and by their very nature, your opportunity to relate to them as people. This is your chance to influence and motivate – not just update!
Years ago, when I was on the board of a volunteer organisation in London, the chair used to begin our monthly meetings with a recap of what the vision and mission of the organisation was. The constant reminder of the greater vision put all the smaller decisions into perspective – and ensured that any action taken served the purpose of the organisation.
Consider some strategies to maximise meeting opportunities to build your relationship with your team and make the gathering as people-focused as it is task-focused!
- Thank them for making time to attend
- Smile and congratulate them on progress so far… or
- Enthuse about what a significant impact the project will have on completion!
- Make overarching positive comments about the big picture: what’s the vision? People are often motivated by “why” they’re doing something and it never hurts to emphasise how their role fits into the bigger machine.
- Create an atmosphere where input is encouraged. How many ideas have been “frozen” in a cold atmosphere?
- Congratulate any individual successes.
- End on a positive note too!
Dale Rees-Bevan is an experience presenter and the Director of SpeakersBank Australia. SpeakersBank is an organisation that runs communication programs for voluntary and community organisations to help staff and volunteers learn to speak up and speak out about their organisations.
Their main program “Speak Up! Speak Out!” in a fast and fun way boosts your confidence by enabling you to speak clearly and with impact. The Centre in partnership with the SpeakersBank is offering an Effective Communications Workshop on 15 October, we look forward to speaking to you.