What’s the one thing you can say to immediately get everyone’s attention, and focus them on working together to get results in a meeting? Well, it’s not one thing actually. You’ve got three ways to get any meeting started on the right track.
- A Startling Statistic
- A Dramatic Quote
- A Success Story
You might have heard hundreds of people start a meeting. You’ve probably spent thousands of hours watching teachers start their lectures. For the most part, they’ve been doing it all wrong. That’s why you’ve been bored, focused on the donuts and coffee or otherwise used the time to check Facebook or design a new logo for the company you’re starting on the side.
Prepare to be the best
When you run a meeting, that’s what your audience is doing, too – unless you plan ahead. So, take a few minutes to prepare one of the three best ways to grab their attention and laser focus their efforts on the tasks at hand.
Today we’ll focus on your first option, the startling statistic
This is the easiest opening to prepare and it can be the most entertaining way to grab attention. Consider what surprising metric is directly or indirectly tied to the topic you’re talking about. Pile up a lot of these so you always have a new statistic or measurement to shock your audience. For example:
In the solar energy business or tech support explaining data storage devices:
“The sun is so large, it could hold one million planets the size of Earth.” If you’re selling flash drives, “This drive is that exact concept – just turned around. It’s whole lot of ‘space’ in a pretty small container.”
In project management or global navigation:
“About one in seventeen children born in a hospital are given to the wrong parents,” according to playwright David Mamet in a recent New York Times interview. “If people can’t get that right, imagine what can go wrong when there’s less at stake.”
In electronics, quality control or technical writing:
“Thirty percent of all electronics returned by customers for being defective, aren’t defective. They’re returned because consumers can’t figure out how to use them. Returns cost companies $100 billion annually. Think of what saving $33 billion would mean to profitability, job creation and global economic health.”
In financial management, fundraising or oil and gas:
“A gallon of gas in the US today is about $4.50 cents a gallon. Pretty high until you compare it to the price of other things we commonly buy. Starbucks coffee comes to $32 a gallon!”
Getting statistics together isn’t just smart for getting attention in meetings, presentations, and conversations. It’s fun. Get onto your favorite search engine and let your curiosity lead you to asking loads of significant and quirky questions. Then, then sift through the sources to get metrics that create a wow factor for your meetings.
Hearing “wow, you give great meetings!” is ideal for any personal brand.