Before Breakfast - The New Corner Office: Let your opening be your overture

A lesson from orchestras on how to start your meetings Learn more about your ad-choices at

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Good morning. This is Laura.

Welcome to the new corner office the podcast where we share strategies for thriving in the new world of work. We're location and hours are flexible than in the past creative it to let the first 5 minutes of a video conference be like the Overture for the meeting pick up the major themes and set the tone in a compressed way and you'll create a more cohesive and productive whole

If you're like a lot of people this December you'll watch The Nutcracker the mesmerizing story ballet set to check house keys beloved music. Of course this year, you might be watching from the couch instead of in a Grand Theater, but still from the moment the music begins listeners are transported to a Christmas party at Clara's house a battle between soldiers in mice and the magical land of the sweets.

The Nutcracker begins with the miniature Overture which were introduced to some of the themes and instruments will hear again later many different ballets or Opera's begin this way composers know that how we begin is how we go and a good Overture is a preview of what's to come you can do something similar to start you or grand Productions, otherwise known as your meetings, here's what I mean the first few minutes of a meeting or sell them focused on the exact core question that you intend to address. They are the opener, but they also set the tone and shouldn't be treated as a throat-clearing throwaway moment where everyone mumbled something about the weather.

Treated strategically this Overture can prepare people for great session.

So step one think about it an orchestra doesn't just sit down and see what happens and neither should you second find a way into your main topic in a slightly varied form. So for instance, if you're talking about seems friend upcoming virtual conference, you might ask people to share one cool thing. They've experienced in a recent virtual conference or whether you can put this question on the agenda. So people aren't stopped. Well unless they didn't look at the agenda in which case don't have those people go first. If you're getting feedback on a grant proposal for a summer youth program everyone might share a 30 second summer job memory or Camp memory or something along those lines.

And third you want people to act in the Overture as they will and the rest of the meeting and those two examples people were going to be asked for ideas. Do you want to get them sharing ideas and even more importantly you want everyone sharing ideas within rules going around the room and turn time-limited and with people getting used to hearing all voices. Everyone else is getting background on people's perspectives. They are actively listening.

Stop, that's the tone exactly as you want the meeting to proceed. If on the other hand you want people's ideas, but you start the meeting with a 5-minute diatribe against something completely unrelated. Well, people are going to be furtively cleaning out their inbox and good luck getting ideas later how we start is how we go.

An overcharged doesn't last forever. It is just a few minutes but a well-executed Overture establishes that you have gathered for a purpose. The meeting has been thought through as a coherent whole and you have expectations for the group. Maybe not to play a glockenspiel or dance with the Sugar Plum Fairy, but everyone will perform their rules in concert together and create something really cool as a result and when it comes to meetings that is music to my ears.

In the meantime, this is Laura. Thanks for listening. And here's the succeeding in the new corner office.

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