When you open a business meeting you need everyone's undivided attention and awareness of the seriousness of the proceedings. How you open the meeting could determine how successfully it proceeds. As the business meeting organizer, you are responsible for setting the tone of the gathering so that attendees can follow your lead. Many business people choose to conduct business meetings according to formal procedures outlined in Roberts Rules of Order, a socially accepted set of rules for managing professional meetings.
Call the meeting to order by specifically stating "I would like to call this meeting to order." Ask for quiet from the attendees if anyone continues to talk. Pass out any materials related to the business material, such as an agenda, a time-line, meeting minutes, or printed reports. Thank everyone for joining you at the meeting and ask everyone to stick to the agenda of the meeting.
Acknowledge each of the attendees at the meeting, especially if the individual members of the gathering are not familiar with each other. If the business meeting is a membership meeting that requires you to take attendance, do a formal roll call while the secretary records who's present and who's missing.
Read the minutes from the previous business meeting if applicable. This catches everyone up on your initiatives and acts as a segue that you can use to discuss any progress since that last gathering later on in the business meeting.
Ask the first officer or committee member on the agenda to present her report to proceed with the meeting.
- Appoint someone to act as a parliamentarian of the meeting (or you can take this neutral role yourself) if you feel that the attendees have a tendency to go off-track, interrupt, or talk on end about various topics during your business meetings. Don't allow the meeting to drag on well past the scheduled end time out of respect for all attendees.
- Meeting image by Tribalstar from Fotolia.com