Five Ways to Open a Meeting

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Is there a right way to open a business meeting? In “‘Stepping Stones’ in Opening and Closing Department Meetings,” recently published in the Journal of Business Communication, Mie Femø Nielsen of the University of Copenhagen highlights five techniques, arguing that because meetings are “interactional” achievements requiring intense collaboration, managers need to know which social actions are appropriate to take:

home_coverThis article gives a canonical sequential analysis of openings and closings based on a corpus of department meetings. The first section of the article shows how opening a meeting constitutes a shift in    turn-taking system. The second section identifies five techniques used in opening meetings. The third section identifies six techniques used in closing meetings. The final section of the article concludes how openings and closings mirror each other, with similar “stepping stones” to be “traveled”; and discusses the potential of this being a canonical and cross-cultural model. The study has implications for the community of conversation analysts, for business communication studies, and for practitioners.

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