Let’s not underestimate the importance of openings and closings. 

When it comes to meetings we can all too often rush in, blurt out what we want to say and hurry off to the next appointment in our diary. 

It’s so important to take a moment at the beginning of a meeting, to check in with folk and to set the tone. 

When I talk about kickstarting a meeting I’m not talking about a time consuming icebreaker or going round the table with lengthy introductions. I’m talking about something quick and creative which serves the purpose of helping people arrive fully at the meeting, feel welcome and feel ready to participate.

1. Pass around post-it notes and ask everyone to write down what kind of weather represents how they are feeling right now e.g. ‘sunny and bright’, ‘foggy’, ‘blustery’. Participants can reveal as much or as little information as they like. Watch the energy shift in the room as you introduce this quirky opener!
(with thanks to David Sibbet)

2. What’s on your mind?
Invite people to jot down what’s at the forefront of their mind as their enter the room. It might be work related, it might not. Then ask them to scrunch up the piece of paper they’ve written on and throw it in the bin. This is a way of ‘parking’ their distracting thoughts so that they can fully focus on the meeting.

3. The Mindfulness Minute.
All you need for this is a stopwatch (most phones will have this setting) and the confidence to say ‘We’re going to take a short breather before we begin the meeting’.
Set your stopwatch for no more than 60 seconds and invite people to simply take deep breaths during the 60 seconds. That’s all. Let people know that if their minds start to drift off, no problem, just bring their thoughts back to their breath.
Notice how the atmosphere has changed at the end of the 60 seconds, how much calmer and grounded everyone feels. 

60 seconds! That’s all it takes. 

How do you lick to kickstart a meeting? What ideas would you like to see me share in a future post? Email me your ideas here.