Creating a visual record

Since meetings consume so much of our time, it's worth trying to improve them. The leader's perception of how a meeting has gone can be quite different than participants' experiences of the same meeting.

Evaluating how meetings are going, discussing results together, and making improvements are a powerful way to use people's time wisely and respectfully.

How to evaluate:

You can evaluate the meeting yourself or ask members to complete a paper evaluation and share results. Evaluation can be some informal questions such as, "Do you feel like we accomplished what we needed to today? The meeting leader can ask the questions with group members answering in turn, round-robin style, or the questions can be asked for anyone to answer. Other questions from which the leader might select include:

  • Are we starting on time? Ending on time?
  • Are we staying on topic?
  • Are all our members participating in discussions and decision-making?
  • Are we addressing the most important issues in our meetings?
  • Do we follow through on our decisions?

The committee or group as a whole should generate solutions for any items that received a "No" response.

Brief paper surveys are another option and the group results should be aggregated and shared. Focus on any weak spots identified in the evaluation at the next meetings.

A very different approach is to ask, "What went well at this meeting (or recent meetings)? Why did it go so well? What can we do to make all our meetings this effective?"

See sample evaluation form (Word doc) you can use.