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Three Elements of a Successful Meeting Opening

Three Elements for an Effective Meeting Opening

Ensuring a successful meeting starts with a successful and effective opening. Here are three tips for developing a meeting opening:

Get the Audience’s AttentionThree Elements of a Successful Meeting Opening

Audience’s aren’t always ready to start when you are. The larger the meeting, the more opportunity there is for side conversations and extended greetings among participants.  Grabbing their attention right away ensures you get started on time.

For most meetings, a simple statement such as “Good morning, and thank you all for coming” should be sufficient.  For a very large audience, you might need something more dramatic to get everyone’s attention.  Consider a relevant quotation or piece of related trivia.

Orient the Audience

After a quick greeting, quotation or piece of trivia, put the meeting on the right track from the beginning by answering the questions on the minds of the participants.

  • What is the purpose of the meeting?
  • Why is that important?
  • When will we be done (and other key timing questions?)

If you used a meeting PAL, then this orientation should reinforce what you’ve already told the audience members when they were invited or received the agenda in advance.

Forecast the Main Ideas & Points

The third essential piece of a successful meeting opening is giving a brief overview of the main ideas that are to be covered in the meeting. Especially for longer, larger meetings it is important to offer this upfront roadmap so audiences can understand what portions are most relevant to them and be prepared to contribute as necessary.

With these three elements, you can prepare a meeting opening that starts your next meeting right. The meeting opening deserves more preparation that it usually gets, because the opening establishes the tone for the rest of the meeting. Make meeting openings part of your standard meeting prep.