Best way to start

Nine Morning Habits to Start the Day Right

How you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.

You can start your day by hitting the snooze button, dragging yourself out of bed at the last minute, rushing to get ready, and then running out the door with a doughnut in one hand and your briefcase in the other. Or, you can start your day with good morning habits. I recommend the latter.

Below you’ll find nine morning habits to start the day right.

1. Wake Up Early. Early risers reap many benefits. Some of these benefits include the following:

  • Being able to go through your morning routine in a calm and leisurely manner instead of running around like a chicken with its head cut off being rushed.
  • Having time for introspection and getting yourself in the right frame of mind.
  • The quiet morning hours are a great time to get things done.
  • You can get an early start on your goals, such as getting daily exercise or tackling a 30-day challenge.

Waking up early will also allow you to practice the eight habits explained below, which will help you to start your day in high spirits, ready to tackle anything that life throws at you throughout the day.

2. Smile and Think Something Positive. As soon as you wake up, smile. Scientists have discovered that smiling does all of the following for you:

  • When you smile your body releases the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and endorphins. This means that by smiling first thing when you wake up you’ll be starting your day in a better mood.
  • In addition, when you smile your mood is further lifted by the release of serotonin.
  • Smiling strengthens the immune system, so by smiling first thing in the morning and remembering to do it throughout the day you’ll be warding off disease, specially during flu season.

If you have trouble getting yourself to smile in the morning, force yourself: even a forced smile has benefits.

In addition, say something like the following to yourself when you wake up (say it out loud or just say it silently in your head):

  • “Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.” – Dalai Lama
  • “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

Lastly, ask yourself these two questions:

  • What am I grateful for today?
  • What am I looking forward to today?

3. Make Your Bed. Get up and make your bed. Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project”, indicates that a simple way to be happier is to make your bed every morning. By taking this small step to create outer order, you create inner calm. It’s something small and doable which gets your day started off right.

In addition, Naval Adm. William McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, said the following about making your bed in his commencement address at the University of Texas at Austin:

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”

4. Brush Your Teeth and Scrape Your Tongue. Most people were taught to brush their teeth after having breakfast. However, it’s healthier to brush your teeth as soon as you wake up. Plaque—which is a film of bacteria–builds in your mouth while you sleep. You should remove this plaque buildup by brushing as soon as you wake up.

Also, brushing coats the teeth with a protective layer of fluoride to guard against the sugars and acids introduced in the mouth at breakfast.

In addition to brushing your teeth, you should also scrape your tongue. Here are five reasons why:

  • Fresh Breath – Most bad breath comes from the bacteria at the back of the tongue.
  • Better Tasting Food – By scraping your tongue you remove mucus which can block your taste buds.
  • Boost Immunity – Scraping your tongue prevents toxins from being reabsorbed into your body.
  • Healthier Teeth – The process of scraping your tongue promotes general tooth and gum health.

Then, after you’ve eaten your breakfast, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash.

5. Drink Warm Water With Lemon. After brushing your teeth drink a tall glass of lukewarm water with half a lemon–or one whole lemon–squeezed in it. This is an easy health tip which will do all of the following for you:

  • Lemon water cleanses and stimulates the liver and kidneys.
  • Lemons have lots of Vitamin C, which helps to protect you from catching a cold.
  • Drinking lemon water alkalizes the body — when the body does not have sufficient alkalizing substances and is overly acidic, it takes these substances from the bones or vital tissues.
  • The antioxidant properties of lemons help combat free radical damage, which keeps your skin looking young and healthy.

I use a straw to drink my water with lemon in the morning in order to protect the enamel on my teeth from the acid in the lemon.

6. Do a Stretching Routine. Performing a morning stretching routine will help you to loosen your muscles after sleeping, while increasing blood flow to your muscles. Taking ten minutes to do a few yoga poses will allow you to connect your mind, body, and breath in preparation for the day that’s ahead.

7. Meditate. Start your day with stillness by meditating in the morning. Meditating does everything from improving your focus to reducing stress, improving emotional stability, and preventing common health ailments. You can start simply by focusing on your breath for three minutes each morning, and build from there.

Do the following:

  • Sit in a comfortable position.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
  • Inhale for 4 counts, retain for 4 counts, and exhale for 8.
  • Every time you feel your mind wandering, bring it back to your breath.
  • Do this for three minutes.

8. Eat a Healthy Breakfast. You’ve already heard this a thousand times, but I’m going to say it again: breakfast in the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast consists of lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. You’ll gain all of the following benefits from eating a healthy breakfast:

  • You’ll be less hungry throughout the day.
  • You’ll have better focus and concentration.
  • Skipping breakfast is tied to being overweight.
  • You’ll have more energy.

9. Create Something. Before you start taking in information–reading emails, listening to the news, attending meetings, and so on–create something. This can be anything: write a blog post; draw something; create an info-graphic; record a video; write a chapter of your novel; and so on.

Start you day in creativity-mode.

Conclusion

Your morning habits can make or break your day. The nine habits explained above are guaranteed to get your day started off right. Live your best life by creating good morning habits.

  • Adopt Good Habits With Temptation Bundling
  • How to Start Your Day The Right Way
  • Eight Ways to Build to New Habits and Make Them Stick
  • Seven Things To Stop Doing To Become An Early Riser

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16 Better Ways to Start Your Day (That Have Nothing to Do With Breakfast)

I bet I can predict what your morning looks like: You wake up to a generic alarm clock sound, roll out of bed, get dressed, grab a mediocre breakfast, and leave the house still rubbing your eyes and yawning.

How’d I know? Because we all do it—it’s the only way we know how. (And if you’re not one of us traditionalists, I salute you!)

However, there are so many better ways to start your day than by following the usual patterns. Yes, you can journal, exercise, read, or meditate—but you can also get a little crazy and try any of these 16 other unique strategies to having better morning. While you can’t possibly incorporate all 16 (or can you?), you can start with one or two.

1. The Two-Minute Exercise

A lot of people suggest that you meditate every morning to increase your energy, confidence, and sense of stability—but let’s be real: No one has time to really meditate and fully free their mind. Instead, Muse writer Lily Herman suggests trying these two super-quick breathing exercises when you wake up.

2. The Seven-Minute Routine

For the people in a hurry, take seven minutes to think, breathe, doodle, and make a plan. Even this small amount of time can create a positive mindset for the rest of your day.

3. The 15-Minute Routine

We can almost guarantee that John Gannon’s morning routine will change the way you brainstorm.

What does he do? He gives thanks, writes to get his creative juices flowing, and jots down 10 new ideas every day. The results: After 30 days of doing this and sharing his input with others, he came up with an exciting new product for his startup that lead to great success and got offered a job. And it only took 15 minutes out of his day!

4. Take a Shower

Only like to get clean at night? You might want to rethink that. As Muse writer Jennifer Winter says, “Jumping in the shower has a way of shocking your system and getting your circulation going. If you absolutely can’t get yourself into the shower, then at a minimum do a thorough scrubbing of your face in the sink and finish off with a splash of cold water. You’ll look and feel more awake than you would if you’d simply rolled out of bed.”

5. Buy a Festive Coffee Mug

You’d be surprised how much your cup of coffee can brighten your morning—and I’m not talking about the caffeine part. Spruce up your routine with something that’ll make you smile, laugh, or even entertain you while you sip. For some ideas, look at this shopping guide and this one.

6. Use an Alarm Clock That Actually Works

Yes, it is possible to find an alarm that doesn’t make you want to hit snooze a bagillion times. Just remember—once you’re out of bed, everything can only get easier. So try these better solutions on for size—waking up will be a piece of cake. (Just kidding, waking up will never compare to cake.)

7. Blast Some Great Tunes

There’s no better way to stimulate your mind in the morning—without exhausting it back to sleep—than by listening to music. And we’ve got the perfect playlist for just about every mood you’ll face.

8. Stay in Bed Longer

“For many, the hardest part about waking up and getting out of bed is the “getting out of bed” part. So, don’t! Winston Churchill spent the first three or four hours of each day working from bed, reading stacks of mail, and dictating responses to his secretaries,” writes Muse contributor Alexandra Franzen. While it’s unlikely you have the luxury of three to four hours (unless you’re waking up right after you go to sleep), treat yourself to 10 or so minutes.

9. Create Something

Muse’s Senior Editor of Branded Content Erin Greenawald has three suggestions for starting your day right: Have any networking meetings first thing in the morning, listen to podcasts while you get up and ready, and finally, instead of reaching for your phone, reach for paper and a pencil, or ingredients for breakfast: “It doesn’t have to take long, and it doesn’t have to be big—or even good, for that matter—but you’ll be starting your day by engaging a part of your brain that many of us don’t get to work with often.”

10. Create a Step-by-Step Schedule

If you plan out, step-by-step, how long each AM task takes you to complete, you’ll more accurately see how much time you truly need to get ready in the morning. You might also realize what things can be done later in the day, or even the night before. And once you set a realistic timeframe for showering, getting dressed, or eating breakfast, stick to it. Muse Career Coach Adrian J. Hopkins believes that “if you take a moment to plan ahead, you’ll find that one stitch, in time, really does save nine.”

11. Do the Dishes

According to a article by LearnVest, “Rolling up your sleeves to hand wash a sink full of dirty dishes from last night’s dinner may be the last thing you want to do first thing in the morning, but a recent study found that mindfully cleaning dishes—in other words, staying in the moment while scrubbing away—reduced anxiety and made study subjects feel more inspired.” And bonus, you won’t have to worry about them later when you’re exhausted from work!

12. Check the News (Fast!)

The first thing I do each morning is open my email on my phone to read theSkimm, an entertaining roundup of breaking headlines. It’s just what I need to start to stimulate my mind and think about my day without thinking too hard. For even more quick-fix news outlets, check out this list.

13. Exercise for 10 Minutes

Muse writer Kat Moon says that this science-backed exercise tip will increase your mental processing speed—and it doesn’t require any heavy lifting or five-mile sprints. For example, you can take a walk around the block, watch a yoga tape, or even do a few rounds of push-ups. (True story: the Muse team can attest to this strategy.)

14. Set Your Clocks Five Minutes Ahead

It seems silly, but even just tricking your brain into thinking you’re late will help you wake up faster. Plus, you’ll always be guaranteed to be on time.

Muse Managing Editor Jenni Maier loves using this technique to get moving in the morning: “Just seeing the (incorrect) time on your microwave, in the car, and anywhere else you can manually change it will make you start operating five minutes ahead. I can’t explain it, I can just tell you that every morning I leave my house at 8:10 AM, look down at my phone, see it’s really only 8:05, and think about the fact that my stupid stove clock tricked me again.”

15. Play Some Soothing Ambiance

Fun fact: Ambient noise is proven to increase creativity and productivity—so consider turning on the sounds of a coffee shop or a cozy rainy day to set your mood. To create your own background noise, try apps such as Noizio or A Soft Murmur.

16. Keep Your Blinds Open

Sunlight is the best way to naturally wake your body up—so don’t hide from it. Muse writer Lily Herman suggests that this will make the night-to-morning transition a lot easier: “It’s hard to go from pitch-black darkness to bright light (especially if you hop on your phone or computer first thing in the morning), so make it easier on yourself by keeping your blinds somewhat open. I can personally attest to the fact that not drawing my curtains means it’s a little less jarring to wake up to my alarm each morning.”

I’m going to try every tip—one at a time, of course—starting today. You should too! Tweet me to let me know how it’s going.

mindbodygreen

This post is just the tip of the iceberg! For even more of Sheryl Paul’s wisdom, be sure to check out her newest class, How To Have The Greatest Relationship Of Your Life.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? When I conducted a highly informal survey based on this question, the most common answer I received was:

“My alarm is on my phone. Once I have my phone in my hand, I check texts, email, and Facebook.”

The smartphone. I can’t imagine that any other gadget in history has changed how we function, spend time, and relate to ourselves and others more than this device. But this isn’t a diatribe against the smartphone; I love/hate my iPhone just as much as everyone else. It’s an invitation to ask yourself how, if you do begin your day by reaching for your phone (or television, computer, radio), that action may affect your levels of equanimity or anxiety.

When we first wake up in the morning, we’re in a highly vulnerable state. Fresh from the world of dreams and the unconscious, it always takes a few minutes for our psyche to plant fully back into our bodies. Some traditions teach that the soul travels between worlds when we sleep, and that the first words to break the silence each each morning should be, “Thank you for restoring my soul to me.” This speaks to the fact that morning is a time when the portal between conscious and unconscious is thin, the veil lifted.

So what happens when we fill this soft, vulnerable time with the loud sounds of the electronic world? And I’m not talking only about literal sound. I’m referring to the soundless chatter that emanates from scrolling through Facebook and absorbing the images and words of other people’s lives; the silent cry of news stories that scream the latest tragic headlines onto your screen; the boiling up of feeling that churns from reading a friend’s response to the email you sent last night; the rise and fall of self-esteem as you learn about news from work.

What I’ve observed with my clients is that the way you begin your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you start your day by externalizing your experience—as inevitably happens when you reach for a device—you’re already sending yourself the message that the world outside of you is more important than the world inside.

It’s as if you had a young child who wanted to snuggle and share her dreams in the morning but you were constantly pushing her aside so that you could read your phone. Would the child feel loved and appreciated or rejected and cast aside? That’s what we do on the inner level: When we fail to give ourselves attention by spending a few quiet minutes attending to our inner world upon awakening, we send ourselves the message that everything else and everyone else is more important.

As an experiment, I invite you to begin your day in one of the following ways for the next week. (If your alarm is on your phone, turn it off, set it aside and resist the impulse to “check.”) The work is to create a gap between the tender “being” realm of sleep and the fast-paced “doing” realm that defines most people’s days.

1. Practice mindfulness.

Even five minutes of mindfulness practice can set a calmer tone for your day. Mindfulness helps you come into the present moment and ground yourself to the here and now (here I am in space; right now in time). Cultivating that pause each morning will help you anchor back into it if the busyness reaches a crescendo as your day progresses.

2. Write down your dreams.

While dream-tending is an art and a science that usually requires the guidance of a skilled therapist, even taking a few minutes to jot down last night’s dream can help you honor the vulnerable space of morning and fill yourself with soulful energy instead of technology energy. You may not understand what your dreams are trying to communicate, but if you carry one dream image with you throughout the day and roll it around inside your mind, you’ll be able to maintain a tether to Self that will serve you well.

3. Journal.

When’s the last time you journaled? Journaling is one of the most effective ways to know yourself and fill your inner well with self-love and self-knowledge. If you find that journaling makes you feel more flooded with negative feelings, you’re not journaling effectively. An effective journaling technique should leave you feeling more clear and grounded than when you started. It’s a great way to start the day. Even just writing down a few simple sentences of what you appreciate can set a positive tone.

4. Practice simple yoga exercises.

Yoga is a mind/body practice that is meant to be done at home. The world has climbed aboard the yoga train with a frenzy, which is mostly positive, but we also transmit the message that you have to take a yoga class in a studio in order to learn and practice yoga legitimately. There are many excellent yoga videos that can safely teach you the basics, including one from MindBodyGreen! Once you learn basic poses, you can practice without a video if that feels more natural for you.

5. Open the window or step outside and let the light rush in.

There’s nothing like fresh air and sunshine to reconnect to you to your essential nature, which is good, loving, and worthy exactly as you are.

Into the open vessel of our morning-selves we can pour technology or we can choose actions that will fill the inner well with positive energy. Which do you choose?

The Complete, 12-Step Guide to Starting a Business

  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Make sure you don’t lose all of your progress if one freelancer leaves or if a contract falls through.
  • Manage product development to save money. Rates can vary for engineers depending on their specialties, so make sure you’re not paying an overqualified engineer when you could get the same end result for a much lower price.
  • To help you have peace of mind, start learning as much as you can about the production, so you can improve the process and your hiring decisions as time goes along.

    This process will be very different for service-focused entrepreneurs, but no less important. You have several skills that people are willing to pay you for right now, but those skills can be hard to quantify. How can you establish yourself and your abilities? You might consider creating a portfolio of your work — create a website to show your artwork if you’re an artist, writing if you’re a writer or design if you’re a designer.

    Also, make sure you have the necessary certificates or educational requirements, so that when someone inquires about your service, you’re ready to jump at a good opportunity.

    Related: 105 Service Businesses to Start Today

    9. Start building your team.

    To scale your business, you are going to need to hand off responsibilities to other people. You need a team.

    Whether you need a partner, employee or freelancer, these three tips can help you find a good fit:

    1. State your goals clearly. Make sure everyone understands the vision and their role within that mission at the very start.
    2. Follow hiring protocols. When starting the hiring process you need to take a lot of things into consideration, from screening people to asking the right questions and having the proper forms. Here is a more in-depth guide to help you.
    3. Establish a strong company culture. What makes a great culture? What are some of the building blocks? You can see our list of 10 examples of companies with great cultures, but keep in mind that you don’t need to have Google’s crazy office space to instill a positive atmosphere. That’s because a great culture is more about respecting and empowering employees through multiple channels, including training and mentorship, than it is about decor or ping-pong tables. In fact, office perks can turn out to be more like traps than real benefits.

    Related: 10 Online Careers You Can Start Today With Basically No Money

    10. Find a location.

    This could mean an office or a store. Your priorities will differ depending on need, but here are 10 basic things to consider:

    1. Style of operation. Make sure your location is consistent with your particular style and image.
    2. Demographics. Start by considering who your customers are. How important is their proximity to your location? If you’re a retail store that relies on the local community, this is vital. For other business models, it might not be.
    3. Foot traffic. If you need people to come into your store, make sure that store is easy to find. Remember: even the best retail areas have dead spots.
    4. Accessibility and parking. Is your building accessible? Don’t give customers a reason to go somewhere else because they don’t know where to park.
    5. Competition. Sometimes having competitors nearby is a good thing. Other times, it’s not. You’ve done the market research, so you know which is best for your business.
    6. Proximity to other businesses and services. This is more than just about foot traffic. Look at how nearby businesses can enrich the quality of your business as a workplace, too.
    7. Image and history of the site. What does this address state about your business? Have other businesses failed there? Does the location reflect the image you want to project?
    8. Ordinances. Depending on your business, these could help or hinder you. For example, if you’re starting a daycare center, ordinances that state no one can build a liquor store nearby might add a level of safety for you. Just make sure you’re not the one trying to build the liquor store.
    9. The building’s infrastructure. Especially if you’re looking at an older building or if you’re starting an online business, make sure the space can support your high-tech needs. If you’re getting serious about a building, you might want to hire an engineer to check out the state of the place to get an objective evaluation.
    10. Rent, utilities and other costs. Rent is the biggest facilities expense, but check out the utilities, as well, and whether they’re included in the lease or not. You don’t want to start out with one price and find out it’s going to be more later.

    Once you know what to look for and it’s time to start searching for a place that fits all of your qualifications, these four tips can help.

    1. Think on your own timeframe. Landlords are starting to offer shorter-term office rentals. Don’t get stuck in a long-term lease if it doesn’t make sense for your business.
    2. Play the whole field. There are all sorts of places to use — co-working spaces, office business centers, sublets and more. Keep your options open.
    3. Click around town. You might be able to find the perfect place by using online resources.
    4. Do the deal on your terms. Again, you have options. Don’t get roped into something that makes you uncomfortable.

    After you have a location, you can focus on the aesthetic. You can check out a few design ideas here.

    Related: 5 Best Online Businesses to Start This Year (Infographic)

    11. Start getting some sales.

    No matter your product or industry, your business’s future is going to depend on revenue and sales. Steve Jobs knew this — it’s why, when he was starting Apple, he spent day after day calling investors from his garage.

    There are a ton of different sales strategies and techniques you can employ, but here are four tenets to live by:

    1. Listen. “When you listen to your clients/customers, you find out what they want and need, and how to make that happen,” says investor and entrepreneur John Rampton.
    2. Ask for a commitment, but don’t be pushy about it. You can’t be too shy to ask for a next step or to close a sale, but you also can’t make customers feel as though you’re forcing them into a sale.
    3. Don’t be afraid of hearing “no.” As former door-to-door salesman (and now co-founder of software business Pipedrive) Timo Rein said, “Most people are too polite. They let you make your pitch even if they have no interest in buying. And that’s a problem of its own. Time is your most important resource.”
    4. Make it a priority. As entrepreneurial wizard Gary Vaynerchuk said, “Actually creating revenue, and running a profitable business, is a good strategy for business. Where are we that people think users or visits or time on site is the proxy to a successful business?”

    But how do you actually make those sales? Start by identifying targets who want your product or service. Find early adopters of your business, grow your customer base or put out ads to find people who fit your business. Then, figure out the right sales funnel or strategy that can convert these leads into revenue.

    Related: 63 Businesses to Start for Under $10,000

    12. Grow your business.

    There are a million different ways to grow. You could acquire another business, start targeting a new market, expand your offerings and more. But, no growth plan will matter if you don’t have the two key attributes that all growing companies have in common.

    First, they have a plan to market themselves. They use social media effectively through organic, influencer or paid campaigns. They have an email list and know how to use it. They understand exactly who they need to target — either online or off — with their marketing campaigns.

    Then, once they have a new customer, they understand how to retain them. You’ve probably heard many people state that the easiest customer to sell to is the one you already have. Your existing customers have already signed up for your email list, added their credit card information to your website and tested what you have to offer. In doing so, they’re starting a relationship with you and your brand. Help them feel as good about that relationship as possible.

    Start by utilizing these strategies, which include investing in your customer service and getting personal, but realize your work will never be done. You’ll constantly be competing for these customers in the marketplace, and you can never simply rest on your laurels. Keep researching the market, hiring good people and making a superior product and you’ll be on your way to building the empire you always dreamed about.

    What is the Best Way to Start a Meeting?

    What is the most important thing to do at the start of a meeting? Go over ground rules? …Boring! Introduce everyone to each other? Important, but probably not first. Review the agenda? Probably the MOST common error!

    So what IS the most effective way to start meetings? Consider this – at the beginning of a meeting, people typically want to know two things.

    • Why am I here?
    • Why should I care?

    So to really engage your participants, and set your meeting up for success, put yourself in their place and be sure to answer those two questions before facilitating the rest of the meeting. To help ensure that the two questions are answered well, Leadership Strategies uses the abbreviations I.E.E.I. as a reminder of the things to include in your opening to start a meeting. Learn additional leadership tips from our experts by registering for our webinars.

    Inform – Excite – Empower – Involve

    Inform – Let the participants know the purpose of the meeting and the product to be produced.

    Excite – Explain the benefits of the meeting and why this meeting should be important to them.

    Empower – Describe the role they will play or the authority that has been given to them.

    Involve – Get them involved immediately through an engagement question that furthers the meeting purpose.

    Unfortunately, meeting leaders often start meetings by reviewing the agenda (here’s your agenda guide) and diving straight into the first agenda item. As a result, participants often aren’t sure of the purpose of the meeting, the products to be produced, why the meeting is beneficial, or why the meeting should be important to them. In essence, meetings often begin with an ineffective start that can negatively affect the rest of the meeting.

    We believe effective facilitation techniques include the following elements:

    • Start the meeting on time.
    • Your opening words (IEEI).
    • Confirm the agenda.
    • Review the ground rules.
    • Review the parking boards.
    • Make introductions if needed.

    The start can take as little as five minutes and as long as forty-five minutes or more depending on the size of the group, the length of the meeting, and the steps you use. You should adjust the list as appropriate for the meetings you lead.

    To help you with your opening, we’re going to dig a little deeper into the parts of IEEI.

    Inform

    We recommend that meeting facilitators use words like the following at the beginning of meetings.

    “The purpose of this meeting is…When we are done, we will walk away with…”

    What a great way to start a meeting! These words inform everyone of why we are here (purpose) and what we will have when we are done (product). These words help get everyone on the same page.

    Excite

    The excite segment is the part of IEEI that is most often overlooked by meeting leaders. The excite segment answers the question, “Why should I care?” Without the excite, you may have people in the room, but are they really at the table?

    How do you excite? You excite by making statements that answer the question for them, “What’s in it for me?” Compare these two sample openings. Which one does the better job of exciting?

    Excite Sample I

    • Good morning, it’s a pleasure to be here this morning.
    • Let me start by reviewing why we are here.
    • The purpose of this meeting is to fix our hiring process. When we are done we will have three things: a diagram that shows how the new hiring process will work, a list of benefits of the new process, and a step-by-step plan for getting this new process implemented.
    • What is exciting about this? If we are successful, we will walk away with a new hiring process that will help our organization get the right people hired and get them hired quickly.

    Excite Sample II

    • Good morning, it’s a pleasure to be here this morning.
    • Let me start by reviewing why we are here.
    • The purpose of this meeting is to fix our hiring process. When we are done we will have three things: a diagram that shows how the new hiring process will work, a list of benefits of the new process, and a step-by-step plan for getting this new process implemented.
    • What is exciting about this? Today you may have people on your staff who don’t have the skills or the attitude you need. As a result, you are having to work much harder to make up for what they aren’t doing. This is your opportunity to put strategies in place to ensure that you get the people you need to get the work done.

    The second sample is by far the better excite statement. It does a better job of describing the benefits to the person. But did you notice one other thing? Count the number of times the words “you” or “your” show up in the excite statements.

    A key secret to getting people excited about participating in a meeting is to explain what is in it for them. And you can help ensure you do this well by including the words “you” or “your” at least four times in the excite portion of the IEEI.

    Empower

    The goal in empowering participants is to ensure that they are clear on the power they have while in the meeting. When people feel empowered, they tend to be less hesitant to participate in discussion and more willing to offer their thoughts and ideas.

    Below are three samples of empowering. Often a single, focused, empowering statement is adequate. Other times you may find that multiple statements are needed to empower a group that is used to being told what to do.

    Empower Examples

    • You all were hand-picked by your managers to serve on this hiring process task force because they felt you had the understanding of what is needed and the vision to create something much better than we currently have.
    • The organization is looking to each of you to bring the ideas and the focus that will create a much better higher process.
    • While we are not the final decision makers, the Leadership Team is looking to this team to create a recommendation with the justification needed to bring our hiring process to the next level and beyond.

    Involve

    After delivering the opening, consider getting the participants immediately involved. Why? The involvement step engages everyone quickly and prepares them for the rest of the meeting.

    How do you involve participants early in a meeting? For some teams, it is best to start with a question that is focused on the task at hand. For other teams, it may be more appropriate to start with a question that takes more of a people-focus. Consider the following samples:

    Involve Examples

    • Key Topics Approach
      • Think about the meeting purpose.
      • If we are going to accomplish this purpose, there are probably specific topics that you know we need to cover, specific issues that we have to address, or maybe specific ideas that we should discuss.
      • Let’s build the list. If we are going to be successful today, what topics do we need to talk about?
    • Personal Outcomes Approach
      • Let’s assume this meeting was highly successful.
      • Think about the things that resulted, the outcomes that occurred, and the things that would make you say, “This was a great meeting.”
      • Let’s build the list. Given our purpose and products, what are the outcomes you personally would like to see come out of today’s meeting?
    • One-minute Check-in Approach
      • It has been several days since we were all together. Let’s start with each person giving a quick one-minute check-in.
      • We were last together on . Since that time, there probably have been one or more significant events that have occurred in your personal or professional life.
      • Consider the major events that have occurred and pick one that was significant for you. Let’s go around the room. What is a significant event that has happened to you since we were last together?

    Using the IEEI approach will help you facilitate highly effective meetings with openings that inform, excite, empower and involve. If you are looking for more facilitation training, contact Leadership Strategies today.

    Michael Wilkinson is the CEO of Leadership Strategies – The Facilitation Company, and a much sought after trainer, facilitator and speaker. He is a Certified Master Facilitator and a Certified Professional Facilitator. As a past president of the Southeast Association of Facilitators and a board member of the National Institute of Facilitation, Michael is a national leader in the facilitation industry. You can get more tips from either of Michael’s books, The Secrets of Facilitation, The Executive Guide to Facilitating Strategy or The Secrets to Masterful Meetings.