Are your meetings boring as all get out? Are you concerned that your staff hates them or questions their purpose? Take The Table Group’s Death-by-Meetings Quiz to see if you could be doing a better job. Then check your score, using the guide directly below the questions:
1. Do team members question the usefulness of meetings?
2. Do you find that critical issues are avoided or overlooked during meetings?
3. Do you wonder if team members are holding back during meetings?
4. Do you find that meetings end without resolution of critical issues?
5. Do you discuss administrative, tactical and strategic topics during the same meetings?
6. Are important discussions cut short because of time constraints?
7. Is your team reluctant to go off-site more than once a year to review the state of the organization and business?
If you answered NO to all of these questions, congratulations! You have one of those rare teams that has mastered the art of meetings.
If you answered YES to 1-4 of these questions, you could probably improve your organization’s decision-making and overall effectiveness by making a few adjustments to the structure and content of your meetings.
If you answered YES to 5 or more of these questions, your meetings are probably causing you to waste considerable resources, both human and financial, and creating confusion within your organization. Significant meeting changes are needed.
Provided below are brief explanations of selected questions and answers from the quiz.
Do team members question the usefulness of meetings?
When meetings are properly organized and executed, team members see them as a vital and integral part of doing their jobs, not as an ancillary activity outside of real work.
Do you find that critical issues are avoided or overlooked during meetings?
In many organizations, too much time during meetings is spent discussing issues that are not critical to the short or long term success of the business. This frustrates team members who want to focus their energy on topics that will have the greatest impact on the success of the organization.
Do you wonder if team members are holding back during meetings?
One of the keys to a great meeting is that team members are confident that all important opinions are being surfaced and considered. When team members suspect that others are holding back — whether or not it’s true — it becomes next to impossible to achieve real buy-in and commitment.
Do you find that meetings end without resolution of critical issues?
Though a team cannot guarantee that every decision it makes is correct, it can ensure that meetings end with clarity about what has been decided. If critical issues remain unresolved when a meeting is set to end, that meeting should be continued, either immediately or some time shortly thereafter, until resolution can be achieved.
Do you discuss administrative, tactical and strategic topics during the same meetings?
Combining too many types of issues during one meeting creates confusion and frustration among team members who find it difficult to shift back and forth among administrative, tactical and strategic topics.
Are important discussions cut short because of time constraints?
Ending a meeting on time is not necessarily a sign of success. In fact, when time constraints prevent important discussions from running their course, there is a good chance that not enough time is being set aside for critical issues. When it comes to making key decisions, there are few activities that can justify ending a meeting prematurely.
Is your team reluctant to go off-site more than once a year to review the state of the organization and business?
Though busy schedules make it difficult for teams to leave the office for a day or two every quarter, there is no activity more important to keeping an organization on track than stepping back on a regular basis and reviewing the state of the organization, the culture and the team. Failing to do so may seem to save time in the short term, but over the long haul it sets the team back because problems are not identified and addressed until they become costly and difficult to resolve.
These 10 “yes/no” questions aren’t the only ones you can ask if you want to assess your meetings mastery. Leadership Strategies, a consultancy based in Atlanta, offers a quiz in which you rate from 1 (“nearly never”) to 5 (“almost always”) the validity of 14 statements. We were especially fond of statement No. 12: “The meeting produced a valuable result that could not have been achieved without a meeting.”
We also enjoyed a seven-part multiple-choice quiz we found on the blog of Mark Hamade, COO of PKM Steel in Salina, Kansas. Hamade’s seventh question emphasizes the speed of distributing minutes after a meeting has ended.
There are also quizzes that zero on what you might call meeting peripherals: A nonprofit called Blue Green Meetings offers a questionnaire to determine how “green” your meetings are. (“Was leftover food donated to a local food bank or charity?”)