Organizational Development Consultant

20 Techniques to Improve Meeting Productivity: #1 Introductions

November 17, 2013

Over my years as a meeting facilitator, I have identified twenty fundamental techniques for facilitating successful meetings. These essential productivity techniques provide specific, uncomplicated processes to define meeting behavior, keep meetings on track, improve the clarity of communication, and maintain maximum energy. Employing these procedures not only saves time and increases effectiveness and efficiency but also adds immediate power to every meeting agenda by eliminating time wasters, focusing discussions, expanding the quality of input, and significantly increasing participation and results.

These 20 techniques include:

Specific techniques for defining and controlling meeting behavior include:
1. Introductions
2. Clearing
3. Ground Rules
4. Pulse Check

For keeping your meeting on track, use:
5. Parking Lot
6. Verbal Warnings
7. The Bell
8. Three P Statements
9. Shredded Questions
10. Self-Management
11. Go/No Go

For improving the clarity of communication, apply:
12. Charting
13. Art
14. Analogies and Metaphors

When you want to stimulate and maintain high energy, utilize:
15. Breaks
16. Movement
17. Toys
18. Music

When you want to increase participation, employ:
19. Writing
20. Small Groups

Today, I share technique 1 of 20: INTRODUCTIONS

“I want to be sure that everyone in our group is acquainted and feels comfortable with each other. How can I structure personal introductions to include the entire group as well as add value to the participative process?”

1. INTRODUCTIONS
What Are INTRODUCTIONS?
INTRODUCTIONS assure that all participants know each other. Even in an organization where roles and responsibilities overlap and flex, people in your meeting want to know who is there and what they have to contribute. People will not work openly if they do not know who else is in the room.
INTRODUCTIONS include everyone at the beginning of your meeting. They create equal ground and highlight the expectations for participation.

When to Use INTRODUCTIONS:
• When your meeting participants aren’t acquainted with each other
• When you want to increase participants’ knowledge of each other

How to Use INTRODUCTIONS?
1. Include INTRODUCTIONS on your agenda. Allow about one minute of time for each participant.

2. Decide which type of INTRODUCTIONS are most appropriate for your group.
OPTION A: “Tell us your name and something personal about yourself that most of the group doesn’t know, for example, a hobby, something about your family, somewhere you have lived, and so on.”

OPTION B: “Tell us your name and what you do in two sentences.”

OPTION C: “Pair up with someone you don’t know and haven’t met yet. Introduce yourselves and talk for a few minutes to get to know each other better. Then you will introduce each other to the group.” Suggest some guidelines, such as questions to ask from option A and B.
NOTE: Allow an extra ten minutes for this option.

OPTION D: “Please share your name, background, and the skills you have that will contribute to the meeting, such as expertise in operations or budgeting.”
NOTE: This option is especially pertinent when new groups form to accomplish a specific objective.
NOTE: Options A through D can be combined with MOVEMENT, Technique 16, where a ball is thrown from person to person during their introductions.

OPTION E: When a new person joins a group of people who already know each other, you can say, “I would like to introduce [the person’s name]. [The person’s name] comes to us from [the place, company, or division], where she was responsible for [whatever the person was responsible for]. I’m sure [the person’s name] will be a positive addition to our group with her expertise in [specific skills, expertise].”
You can then ask the person to add to what you’ve said. Ask all other participants to introduce themselves.

3. Use INTRODUCTIONS as planned.

Summary
INTRODUCTIONS ensure that everyone in your group is acquainted with each other while supporting participation.
1. Place INTRODUCTIONS on your agenda, allowing one minute for each participant.
2. Determine which type of INTRODUCTION is best suited for the specific situation.
3. Use INTRODUCTIONS as planned.

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