Want better meetings? Do evaluations

Humorous PicturesThis post is part of a series.  Click here to read the whole thing.

If you want your meeting participants to be engaged, you must make sure they are getting good value for their time.

How will you know when you’ve done that?  Ask.  (Earth-shattering, I know)

Here’s what you do.  Save 5-10 minutes at the end of each meeting to ask 4 simple questions:

  • When did you feel we were at our most productive?
  • When did you feel we got bogged down?
  • What can we do to make our next meeting better?
  • Anything else?

Tips

  • Finish the evaluation during the agreed upon meeting time.  If you extend the meeting for the evaluation, your participants may be too focused on leaving to give good responses.
  • For your first evaluations, go around the room/table and ask each person to respond (allowing them to pass if they choose).  This gets everyone used to the process.  Once you’ve been doing evaluations for while you may be able to skip the go-round.  However, if you skip it in the beginning, you are unlikely to get good feedback.
  • Write responses on your flip chart.
  • Be sure to integrate what you learn from the evaluation into the next meeting.

Why it works

Obvious reason

  • The feedback makes your meetings better.

Less obvious reasons

  • The more you involve people in any process, they more they own it.  And as every ex-renter knows, owning something increases engagement exponentially.
  • Simply knowing there will be an opportunity to share issues later reduces angst in the moment.  When there is no evaluation, people can get so distracted by what’s bothering them they are unable to notice anything else.  At best this means they stop participating, at worst they will distract others from the work as well.

Want more facilitation advice?  Read The Skilled Facilitator by Roger Schwarz , or contact me for personalized assistance.

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