Well begun is half done! This proverb especially applies for meetings. The start of a meeting can be designed so that purpose, format and content are all articulated and placed in context. Irrespective of the type of meeting you are planning, making sure to involve the delegates is always a best practice for successful meeting planning and, moreover, a good way to begin a meeting. Involving the delegates will help them warm up, create the right mood and clarify in which way you want the whole meeting to proceed. Read on to discover three types of meetings, and three options for kicking off your meeting:
1 – The 'strategy and planning' meeting
The 'strategy and planning' meeting usually involves more important decisions than usual. Grand ideas will be on the agenda, but they must be discussed in an efficient and targeted manner. Your aim is to reach decisions, set priorities and reconcile differences.
Start the meeting with the Success Spotting method.
The 'Success Spotting' method involves a recognition of what works, what we are good at now and what gives us the energy to complete our daily tasks. On this basis, we must create a concept of the future – a sort of positive compass to guide our actions in the right direction.
Time: minimum 2 x 7 mins + 10 mins for summarizing
Number of delegates: +4 people
How to proceed:
This method is based on concept, design and execution. Use this method to draw on the organization's best experiences and the results obtained so far:
- The concept: Start by setting out a vision for the future on the basis of past successes.
- The design: Clarify the vision (and what is realistic about it) by investigating how it might be achieved. What could help us make progress towards the vision? What might be the obstacles? How will you overcome the obstacles?
- Execution: making things happen.
The 'success spotting' method can be used for many different purposes, such as improving customer service, working on the individual's professional development, and creating better relations and cooperation within a department. It is especially suitable for managers but can also be used by employees in a number of contexts.
For example: a company has decided to focus on internal cooperation. It seems that the cooperation could be better; They recall a time when everyone was a little happier to go to work and when people talked more with each other. Now, they seem to be in a vicious circle, with everyone focusing on things not done – or errors made.
2 – The 'brainstorming and innovation' meeting
The brainstorming and innovation meeting is a special kind of meeting. It aims to find new ideas, activities and solutions in areas such as product or concept development or marketing campaigns. You have to think 'outside the box' and dare to try new approaches.
Start the meeting with the Outside the box method
The purpose of the 'Outside the box' method is to establish ties between the delegates and to practice creative thinking. It is a particularly educational exercise, which in fact shows how hard it is to come up with new ideas.
Time: Approx. 5 - 10 minutes
Number of delegates: 2 – 100 people (best done in groups)
How to proceed:
- Form pairs.
- Look carefully at your partner and note how he/she is dressed, what the hair is like, etc.
- Ask the pairs to stand back-to-back.
- Now, both partners should change five things in their appearance (this is generally quite easy).
- They must now turn around and tell what the changes are.
- Next, they must stand back-to-back again – and now change another ten things (generally this can only be done by taking things from other couples, or from outside the room - which is allowed).
You can vary the number of things to be changed but the point is to make it fairly difficult; this way, the delegates are forced to go beyond the boundaries of their habitual way of thinking. If someone finds it too difficult to say how their partner's appearance has changed, the partner can then explain. The primary intention of the exercise is not to be a guessing game but to force the delegates to keep coming up with new ideas. You can also ask the delegates to change each other's appearance, but this may be difficult, and for some people a little too personal.