Whether held for business, recreation, or support, meetings are an essential way to provide a wealth of information to a group of people. Speaking to a group can be intimidating, especially if it's your job to keep the meeting going. Although it may seem stressful at first, starting a meeting can be easy as long as you prepare your opening remarks, manage your time well, and convey your views clearly.
Method 1 of 3: Prepare Opening Remarks
Step 1. Write the opening remarks for a business meeting
Choose a meeting format before you start planning any opening statement. Business and board meetings should have more formal opening remarks to recognize attending members. Try to keep your opening remarks short in more informal meetings, especially if attendees have an allotted time to introduce themselves. You can find templates for starting an informal meeting online at the following link:
- Roundtable meetings may not require as much preparation, as each member leads a different part of the meeting.
- For example, start a meeting by saying something like “Welcome! I would like to thank everyone for coming to our quarterly budget meeting. Before we start, I would like you to take a look at the event's agenda”.
Step 2. Clearly define the purpose of the meeting
Make sure everyone in the meeting understands what you are going to discuss. Paying attention will be much more difficult for people if you don't define a clear goal or purpose. Let them know what to stick to after you've greeted them.
- In a business setting, you can state something like "The purpose of this meeting is to find a way to cut the budget for this quarter."
- For more informal settings, you can say something like "Let's share our ideas and experiences on this topic."
Step 3. Follow an agenda to avoid any confusion
Go over what the meeting will be about before starting any new conversations. Diverse topics can lead to different discussions, which can cause you to quickly drift off topic if you don't follow a planned agenda. Having an agenda helps keep the meeting on track and on topic, and gives attendees a way to monitor the duration of the meeting.
Clearly indicate if any part of the program applies to only one person. To avoid any confusion in the meeting, determine who is in charge of what task. For example, you can say something like, “Roberto will handle all the budget paperwork. Talk to him if you have any questions. "
Method 2 of 3: Lead the meeting efficiently
Step 1. Start the meeting on time to meet the schedule
Make sure the meeting starts at the scheduled time. You must show everyone attendees that their time is valuable. By starting the meeting on time, you create an atmosphere of mutual respect. Punctuality also makes it easier to set aside time for questions later.
Make sure to finish the meeting on time as well
Step 2. Review the basic rules for keeping order
Remind attendees of the meeting policies before you begin. Depending on the meeting, you may have more ground rules than other people.
- For example, a support meeting may have a confidentiality reminder for members. A business meeting may have a rule for attendees to be detailed and specific when speaking.
- Establish these rules at the beginning of the meeting. It will be much more difficult to enforce any rules if you mention them at random times.
- For example, in a business meeting, you might say something like, "If you have a problem with your budget this quarter, please wait until the meeting is over to speak with me privately."
Step 3. Give attendees time to introduce themselves
Give them a chance to greet each other and learn each other's names. Members' introduction is most necessary and valuable in support groups, as each attendee will speak throughout the meeting. It can also be valuable in a formal setting, but make sure it doesn't take time off the meeting agenda.
- For example, in a formal meeting, you can say something like, "Before we start, I'd like to walk around the room so that each person can say their name and position within the company."
- In an informal meeting, you can say something like, “Let's circle and introduce ourselves. They can also share a positive and a negative thing that happened to them this week. "
Step 4. Set a time for questions and comments
Make sure attendees have a chance to speak. Try to put a specific item on the meeting agenda that is meant to answer the questions and hear the comments. If attendees are confused, they may think the entire meeting was a waste of time.
Avoid toxic behaviors from attendees. While open communication is important, passive aggressive conversations tend to make a meeting tense and awkward. If you think a passive aggressive comment can be a serious problem for attendees, discuss the toxic behavior at the beginning of the meeting
Method 3 of 3: Conveying Your Point of View
Step 1. Speak in concise language to make a point clear
Avoid using superfluous language in a formal business meeting. In a more informal setting, try to use friendly and pleasant language to eliminate any confusion regarding who you are addressing. By optimizing your own language, you also optimize the overall meeting efficiency.
- For example, in a formal meeting, instead of saying, "We are having difficulty distributing the papers due to a mechanical problem," say something like, "We can't make any copies because the printer has failed."
- In an informal meeting, say something like “Let's all share something good that happened this week” to make it clear that you are addressing the whole group.
Step 2. Incorporate pauses to emphasize a point
Choose strategic moments in your speech to include pauses of one or two seconds, as this measure helps the listener to pay more attention to what you will say next. Pauses also allow you to catch your breath and mentally review what to say next. Speak slowly and clearly so that everyone can hear and understand you.
Step 3. Get to the point using clear, active verbs
Speak in a clear and practical way so that people can immediately understand what you are trying to say. Try not to use the passive voice, as it will eliminate direct action in the speech. Using the active voice allows you to convey your point of view more directly and fluently than using the passive voice.
For example, say something like "We achieved our goal" instead of saying "The goal has been achieved."
Step 4. Avoid redundant language so that you can make the point clear
Don't use unnecessary words when trying to express your point of view. You don't need to make a statement longer than it needs to be if you can put your point of view in just a few words.
- In any type of meeting, terms such as "close proximity" and "particular interest" can be shortened by using "proximity" and "interest" when speaking.
- For example, you can say something like "This project must be finished by noon" instead of saying something like "This project must be finished by 12 noon."