August 2, 2011

12 Questions for Better Meetings

Meetings don't have to be monotonous, but ensuring they are engaging, productive, and efficient requires answering some questions at the start.  Here are a dozen that I often draw on as a facilitator or meeting participant.  What else would you add to the list?
  1. Let's make sure we are clear on what success looks like for our efforts today.
  2. What knowledge or strengths can you contribute to the work we are about to do?
  3. What do we need to know about your interests and agenda related to our work today?
  4. How are you likely to engage and participate in our discussions?  What's your style going to be?
  5. What are preferences or pet peeves you have related to meetings like this one?
  6. What support might help you make the most of our time together?
  7. What lessons from the past can inform our efforts?
  8. How do we want to handle any disagreements that might emerge?
  9. Whose opinions or perspectives are not physically represented in/by those actually present today?
  10. How do we want to capture the insights and decisions from our discussion?
  11. How will we share what happens here today, with whom, and when?
  12. What expectations do we have for each other?  The meeting facilitator/convener?
If you're looking for more more insight on better meetings, consider these posts:

Effective Facilitation: A Six-Pack of Favorite Resources
Scheduling Meetings is Not the Same as Planning Them

5 comments:

Jeff De Cagna/@pinnovation said...

I would add a 13th question to this list, and I would put it at the top:

Why do we need this meeting?

Jeffrey Cufaude said...

Sure Jeff. Although this post assumes people have decided the meeting is necessary.

Kathy Bell said...

Q1 yields the answer to Jeff's question. If we can't define success from the effort, then we don't need the meeting.

Frank Bradley said...

Great post. I think you pretty much have everything covered from the perspective of extended meetings.

I find that most extended meetings (a half day or longer) that I attend, do seem to be well structured. The problem I see most of is the lack of structure around shorter meetings. I participate in lots of meetings that run for less than 60 minutes and half the time I come out of them wondering what has been achieved.

Jeffrey Cufaude said...

Thanks Frank. Some of these questions may be even more useful for shorter meetings since as you note, they often seem less productive.