If you're like most people, you probably dread introduction meetings. They can sometimes feel awkward and uncomfortable, especially if you don't know everyone in attendance. However, with preparation and a few helpful tips, you can make introduction meetings fun while keeping everyone engaged.
In this post, we will discuss what an introduction meeting is, how to run them effectively, and provide some tips that will make them more enjoyable for everyone in attendance.
An introduction meeting is a gathering of people who are new to one another. The purpose is to learn about each person’s background, interests, and goals. You can hold these meetings in person or virtually. They can be as formal or informal as you like.
An introduction meeting can include any of the following examples.
When you meet someone for the first time, it sometimes seems difficult to know what to say or how to act. Introduction meetings give you a chance to become more familiar with everyone in the group. You can discover each other's interests, which can make future interactions more comfortable.
Running an introduction meeting will help everyone involved become more productive by setting clear goals and expectations. These meetings also provide an opportunity to learn about each other's communication styles and preferences.
When each person gets to know others more intimately, the group will gain trust in one another. As you work to improve relationships, you’ll end up building a better sense of teamwork.
When people who previously didn't know one another begin to feel like a team, they are more likely to work together and support each other. Overall, this helps everyone find common ground and build rapport.
When you're introducing yourself, be sure to include your name, job title, and company. If you're introducing someone else, take a moment to explain why they're joining the meeting and a few details about their role.
The introduction meeting should have a specific reason for existing. Make its purpose clear from the start. Establishing the agenda upfront will help keep everyone on track.
If multiple people are leading the meeting, ensure that each person knows their role in the meeting. It will help you stick to the agenda, ensure that things run smoothly, and avoid confusion. Participants will become bored or even frustrated if the leaders don't keep the meeting flowing.
One of the goals of an introduction meeting is to get to know each other. Encourage questions and participation from everyone in attendance. As a meeting leader, be sure to model this behavior. You can accomplish this by asking your own questions. As well, remain open to sharing information about yourself.
One of the best ways to use questions is to ask attendees what they want to know about one another. Make good use of the online technology you’ve chosen to use. For instance, ask the group to put their questions into Zoom chat.
If you run into trouble getting everyone relaxed and comfortable talking, try using icebreakers.
Here are a few examples of icebreakers you can use:
After completing the icebreakers, it's time to get down to business by listing the objectives. During this stage, you can expand upon the main topic announced in the first step.
Be clear and concise when listing the objectives. It helps later in the meeting. For example, you can easily bring everyone back into focus if a participant takes things down on an unrelated tangent.
In step two above, you brought up each person’s role and why they’re in the meeting. Now, expand upon this information. Explain the gifts, knowledge, and skills each attendee brings to the table.
You can encourage engagement by briefly describing each person’s skills and then asking the group to introduce additional details. Each attendee should write their skills and gifts. Then, have each person go around the table to share this information with the group.
At the end of the meeting, take a few minutes to summarize what everyone discussed. Establish the next steps. Doing this will help ensure everyone remains on the same page and knows what they need to do moving forward.
By following these tips, you can make sure your introduction meeting is successful and sets the tone for a productive working relationship.
One-on-one introductory meetings are slightly different from group meetings. The main difference is that one-on-one intro meetings are usually shorter. You do not need to run a long meeting when conversing with one person.
If you're not sure what to discuss during a one-on-one introductory meeting, here is an informal agenda to use.
Start by telling the other person your name. Tell them a couple of relevant facts about your organization. Then, explain the purpose of the meeting. For example, are you looking to fill an important position? Are you selling a product?
Adjust icebreaker questions to fit the situation. For example, if running a sales call, you might ask questions about your prospect’s background or how they got interested in the topic. Or, if you’re a manager conducting a job interview, you can use this time to ask a couple high-level personal questions before diving into the meeting’s agenda.
After you've broken the ice, it's time to start talking about your background. Share a little about your experience. It will help the other person understand your perspective and why you're passionate about the project.
The next step is to discuss your goals. Talk through goals in a way that helps the other person understand how working together is advantageous for both parties.
Getting your self-introduction right can set everyone up for a successful introductory meeting. You need to take into account the type of meeting you're about to lead. Consider whether it's a job interview, a sales demo, an investor pitch, or a sales meeting.
Here are a few examples of how you can introduce yourself.
"Hi, my name is _______ and I'm the manager of the _______ department.
I'm here today to interview you for the _______ position.
Before we begin, I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and tell you a bit about my background.
I've been with the company for ______ years.
I'm excited to get to know you and learn more about your experience.
Now, why don't we start with you telling me a bit about your background?"
"Hi everyone, my name is _______ and I'm the sales manager for _______.
I'm here today to give you a demo of our new product, _______.
Before we get started, I want to take a moment to introduce myself and tell you a bit about my background.
I've been in sales for ______ years and I have experience in ______.
I'm excited to show you our new product and answer any questions you might have."
"Hi, my name is ____. We're here to discuss the __ project."
I'd like to kick things off by telling you a bit about my background. I started at __ as an intern, and then worked my way up to the position of __.
I'm excited to tell you more about our startup and answer any questions you might have."
"Hi everyone, as manager of the sales department, I'd like to welcome you to our quarterly sales meeting.
I'll be giving a brief overview of our department's performance over the past quarter.
But since we have new people since our last meeting, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and tell you a bit about my background.
I've been with the company for ______ years and I have experience in ______.
I'm excited to share our department's progress with you and answer any questions you have about our next quarter."
This one might seem obvious, but it's important to mention. Make sure to prepare for the meeting. It means doing your research and knowing what you want to accomplish.
Create an agenda as you prepare for your meeting. This type of meeting is about getting to know each other. You don't need a formal agenda. However, it might be helpful to jot down a few talking points to avoid forgetting anything important.
Remember, the goal of this meeting is to start a conversation, not to solve all the problems. Keep the meeting short so that everyone can stay focused.
Using the Inform/Excite/Empower/Involve formula, you can easily run interactive and engaging introduction meetings.
Kick your meeting off by telling attendees the benefits of getting to know one another. Inform them about the purpose of the meeting and what they can expect to accomplish together.
Get everyone excited about the meeting by sharing your enthusiasm. Remain upbeat at all times. Let everyone know that this is an opportunity to learn more about each other.
Empower attendees by allowing them to share their own stories and experiences. This is their chance to shine.
You can further the feelings of empowerment via active listening. Involve everyone in the meeting by asking questions and encouraging conversation. Make sure that everyone has a chance to speak up.
Asking questions always helps when the goal is to get to know someone better. Here are a few examples of questions you can ask. Using these questions will help with the previous point: creating an interactive meeting.
The introduction meeting is just the beginning. Make sure you end the meeting with a plan for how you'll continue getting to know each other. It could be as simple as scheduling a follow-up meeting or exchanging contact information.
Don't forget to follow up after the meeting. Send a thank you email or note to the attendees. It will show that you appreciated their time and look forward to working with them in the future.