We’ve all been there…the dreaded meeting that seems to have no direction or flow, and those in attendance are scratching their heads thinking “why am here?” or worse, “what a waste of time!”

How many times do we find ourselves meandering through these types of meetings or conversations? The answer: way too often! It is kind of like walking through a large, unfamiliar city without a map.

The good news is there is a better way!

So what can we do to mitigate the risk of these types of interactions? What can we do to ensure that we don’t waste the time of those people we are engaging? The answer is in a technique called the “First 5 Minutes”!

This interaction approach involves utilizing the first few minutes (could be 5 or more or even less) of a meeting to lay the groundwork for the conversation that will follow. This replaces the “jump right in, the water’s fine” approach to conversations that can lead to awkward and inefficient meetings.


These elements can be “mixed and matched” according to the formality of the meeting, and they do not have to be executed in the same order either. They include:

  • Building initial rapport by creating a business or personal connection, where appropriate
  • Showing appreciation for the time and opportunity to connect
  • Confirming the length of the meeting
  • Level setting on how you got here
  • Recapping the series of events that got you to this point
  • Outlining the goals and objectives for the conversation
  • Asking if the person would like to discuss others
  • Prioritize the objectives
  • Introduce yourself and your team (if appropriate)
  • Provide a very brief snapshot of your firm for context (if appropriate)
  • Get into the “meat of meeting” by ask that first rich starter question

Implementing a simple, several-minute kick off is an effective way to help manage the precious few moments you have in front of key contacts with whom you are developing relationships. Investing in the “First 5-Minute” technique upfront can help you avoid missteps that make you wish you could hit “rewind” on awkward interactions!