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.

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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

  • Why have a meeting at all?
  • Objective?

What

  • 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

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

When

  • 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

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Where

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

How

  • 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.

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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?

 Speculate

  • 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.