We have found one of the best ways to start a meeting is with an opening question.
The simple act of asking a question at the beginning of a meeting builds a stronger, more effective team. It’s a great way to ensure that people who need to work together get to know each other better. Here’s how:
Choose your opening question with purpose, but don’t be paralyzed by finding the perfect question. Success comes from the act of posing and answering a question; the content is secondary.
That said, here are some qualities that you should think about when forming your question:
Opening a meeting with a question is useful for all teams, including those whose members already know each other well.
We’ve had the best success with questions that have something to do with our meeting agendas. For example: At a meeting about recruiting workforce, the opening question was what lessons did you learn from your first job? At a planning meeting for YWCA’s Women of the Year, an opening question was posed: what woman empowers you and why?
If you can’t come up with a question that connects to the project or meeting agenda, it’s okay to try some other topics. What is new and exciting? What are you looking forward to? What season are you in?
For example, over the holidays we’ve asked: what holiday tradition do you enjoy? Ask team members whether they’re Team Winter or Team Summer and why. Or, go ahead and be silly and ask what kind of toothpaste everyone uses.
Remember, the real value of the question is in getting people warmed up for the purpose of your meeting. Anything you can do to get people thinking and talking is beneficial.
Your partners in leadership.