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Nine " M's " For Meetings That Motivate
By Doug Malouf   Printer Friendly Version

First impressions count!

For presenters of meetings that means grabbing people's interest immediately. And hanging on to it...

You want to motivate? Try these tips...

1. Make your meeting notices zappy.

This is your first direct point of contact. Which would you rather: someone who sees your meeting notice and says, "Hey, this looks interesting!" Or someone who groans, "Not another damned meeting..."?

Some tips:

a. Print your notice on coloured paper .
b. Create a catchy title.
c. Use an eye-catching cartoon or illustration.
d. Keep text to a minimum - short lead, content in point form, then briefly outline what's in it for the participant.

2. Make 'em fill in a name tag.

This:

  • involves people from the start
  • builds speedy rapport - you can call attendees by name! Ensure tags are large enough to be read from the back row.

3. Meet and greet 'em on arrival.

Break the ice immediately! A smile, a handshake and a friendly exchange do wonders to build empathy.

4. Music 'em on arrival.

Music signals '...we want you to relax, enjoy yourself.' Music has them humming along and feeling positive from minute one. Hey! This is fun! For best results choose popular light classical or movie themes.

5. Make 'em mix before you start.

This loosens up the audience and promotes group interaction. Give first arrivals tasks, like telling others to:

  • print their names in large, clear letters.
  • use different coloured pens to indicate length of service with the company etc.

6. Make your housekeeping announcements.

People like to know where they're going. And you like to keep their attention. Avoid distracting questions like: "Where's the loo?" "What time's lunch?" Sort those things out before you launch into the body of your presentation.

7. Make 'em aware of your mission.

In a friendly, upbeat way, remind them what the day's all about. Don't be afraid to be natural, and use humour.

8. Make your start fun:

Even using all the above, it's likely you haven't yet won over everyone. Someone looks sceptical; someone yawned. Maybe she's just tired. Or maybe she's unconvinced you'll deliver. So - wake 'em up. Tell an amusing story (against yourself is fine.) Refrain from joke telling unless you're a natural - you want them to smile, not groan!

9. Make 'em move in this five minutes.

Many good meeting ice-breakers require people to move around. You want them awake, alive and participating. Try allowing two minutes to meet a stranger...; collect information - unusual names, hobbies. Almost anything works!

The beginning of any meeting or seminar is the part that can make or break the day. For meetings that motivate, the nine "M's" ensures you're off to a flying start!


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