What questions to ask in your meetings?
People unite and gather to make great achievements. When these gatherings become formal we call them meetings. And everyone will agree that there are good and bad meetings. Sadly enough, in most organisations the bad ones dominate over the good ones.
And it is sad indeed. Because you disengage from the group and that, in the end, impacts on the work outside of the meeting. Energized meetings lead to energized and performing teams and vice-versa. In bad meetings the discussion stalls, in great meetings it flows. We all know the feelings of both meetings. But only few of us know how to reproduce good meetings.
It starts with having the purpose of the meeting clear. What type of discussion do we want to have? Too often, discussions go astray because someone is dealing with day-to-day business while another is interacting on a more abstract level. It doesn’t work.
So here is a little model that will help you clarify the purpose of your meetings. And with that comes different questions we need to ask in order to instill the right mindset during the meeting. How do we need to discuss? What type of questions do we need to ask in order to have a fruitful outcome for the whole team? Having the right discussion will make your meetings productive.
Oh, one important tip: for different meeting purposes hold different meetings! Different purposes deserve their own forum for discussion. Otherwise participants will get confused and you’ll end up having a bad meeting again.
It’s all about asking the right questions
You have recurring meetings and the ones you organise for a special purpose. The last type of meetings happens every now and then, say not more often than every half year. I call them the single meetings. The purpose of the recurring ones is to deal with the now, the single ones to reflect on the now. That’s a huge difference, especially in mindset and questions to ask. For the former you’re dealing with efficiency (getting the job done quickly and within budget), for the latter you’re dealing with effectiveness (doing the right job).
Next to that there’s a difference in meetings to run the day-to-day business and meetings for strategic change and innovation. Running a day-to-day business also requires change, but to a lesser extent than the meetings for strategic change and innovation. And here again: in the meetings you need a different mindset that lead to different discussions. Running a day-to-day business requires an operational mindset, strategic change and innovation requires a learning mindset.
This leads to 4 types of discussions, with 4 different sets of questions. Have a look at the picture.
I hope this will help get the right discussion within your meetings.
Please let me know your experiences and questions you ask, I’d love to hear them.