Meetings 101

We’ve witnessed a few meetings recently that have been inefficient, ineffective and in some cases detrimental to the business that was holding them.

Some of those meetings could have been saved by good planning, some by good process, others by better facilitation, and one or two by not happening at all. Here’s a quick check-list from the archives to help you to have better, more productive, motivating and worthwhile meetings.  Let us know how you get on.


  • Why have a meeting at all?
  • Objective?


  • What do we need to know before we can start?
  • What information needs to be circulated?
  • What needs finding out?
  • What do we need to present to bring everyone up to speed on the subject?
  • What needs to be on the agenda?


  • Who should attend?
  • Who needs to receive the minutes?
  • Who will fulfil what roles during the meeting?


  • Why have it now?
  • Do we need lead time to prepare?
  • Are there any deadlines?
  • What time of day and day of the week?
  • When will it end



  • Home, neutral or away territory?
  • Formal or informal location – boardroom or lunchroom?
  • Interruptible or private setting?


  • Formal or informal?  Workshop?  Brainstorming? Facilitated?
  • How long will it take?
  • Is there to be a hard stop time?

How To Ask High-Leverage Questions

High- Leverage questions are a unique kind of open-ended question.  They require people to do more than respond and carry on a conversation—they require people to engage in high-level thinking that may produce new insights or value.  In their simplest form, High- Leverage questions may ask people to evaluate or analyse, speculate, or express feelings.


Evaluate or Analyse

  • How would you compare “X” with “Y?”
  • How would you evaluate success in “X?”
  • What are the three most important difficulties you face in achieving “X?”
  • You said that “X” and “Y” are important.  Is there also a “Z” that fits with these two?
  • What does the problem with “X” cost you in lost opportunities?


  • If you could organize this operation in any way you desired, how would you do it?
  • Suppose you had no financial constraints in the next two years.  How would you do “X?”
  • Suppose you could write an ideal equipment specification for this product.  What would it include?

Express Feelings

  • How do you feel about the trend toward “X” in your organisation?
  • You said that achieving “X” will be an important goal for the next year.  How do people in the division feel about your organisation’s ability to achieve “X?”
  • How does management feel about the problems you have been describing in completing “X?”

As ever, your questions should be brief and clear, open ended, relevant and phrased to encourage a thoughtful answer.

Use them when selling complex products and services, or when you are emphasising the value of your offer rather than price.  Make high-leverage questions part of your sales toolkit.