On Monday, a 3rd-grade teacher opens her Zoom room, says a hasty hello, and immediately starts reprimanding the boys in the class for not following the meeting requirements. It takes her a full five minutes to get the students under control before starting the lesson. Throughout the lesson, she frequently stops to remind students about their behavior. When she asks for volunteers to answer questions, long silences follow.
Tuesday, a super, sunny class substitute, is in charge. She warmly greets the kids, shares her excitement about the lesson, and within one minute, all the students are fully engaged and learning.
The first few minutes of a virtual event sets the stage for the rest of the event. During in-person events, openings might include sponsors or board presidents, giving their thanks to all who worked on the conference. This might be the time when the audience would hear about room changes and other logistics. We do not have to start our virtual events using the same agenda.
Instead, create a first impression for your event that supports the event’s goal. Do you want attendees to participate? Offer them ways to participate in the first few minutes. Do you want more engagement? Engage them in the first three minutes. Do you want to help members connect? In the first three minutes, find ways to get them to connect.
What will you plan for those most important first few minutes?