People familiar with continuous improvement principles know that the last step in any activity should be an evaluation of performance. Meetings are no different.
Use the last couple minutes during a meeting to evaluate the group’s performance. People will have opinions about whether they thought the meeting was successful or not. They won’t be shy about sharing them to co-workers, especially if they thought the meeting stunk. The trick is to capture these opinions and apply the lessons learned to future meetings.
What are you trying to learn during an evaluation? Here the some of the basic questions the evaluation should address:
- Was the meeting well-planned?
- Did we achieve the planned objectives?
- Were the right people involved in the meeting?
- Did people come prepared?
- Did we manage our time wisely?
- How well did we manage the interaction between participants?
- What did we do well that we should keep on doing?
- What did we do that we should avoid doing in future meetings?
- What didn’t we do that we should have done?
There are lots of ways to quickly evaluate a meeting. Here are several simple options.
1) Draw a line down the middle of a flip chart or a white board. On one half write the word “Keep” and on the other half the word “Change.” Ask people to reflect on the meeting and yell out things they think should be kept or changed for the next meeting. You’ll need to encourage them to be candid about the problems they saw.
2) Each person gives the meeting a letter grade (A-F). After recording the grades, ask people for one or two reasons they graded the meeting as they did.
3) Distribute a short survey card at the end of the meeting that asks people to comment directly on the evaluation questions.
4) Use a quick follow-up web-based survey. I’m a big fan of SurveyMonkey. You could set up a standard survey and just repeat it to your group after every meeting. Make it easy and react to the results, and you will help raise your group’s willingness to provide feedback.
It doesn’t matter how you collect the information. It only matters that you do collect and use it. The insights gained will lead to better meetings.