Meeting management, meeting etiquette, and the list of attendees, what drives the output from a workplace meeting? Often meeting questions feel responsible for the output. Should we already know the answers to these questions?
When you attend a meeting as an observer something strange happens. You aren’t really engaged, you are observing from a different seat. Sometimes physically and literally true.
As an observer, often your only expectation is to keep quiet. This different view allows you to have a different perspective.
What does an observer notice?
The group dynamics associated with meetings can become interesting. We know from Bruce W. Tuckman theories that groups go through four or five stages of development. What behaviors, if any, are conditioned by the dynamics?
An observer, with good listening skills, may notice that there is a flow to meeting questions and the associated answers.
Meeting participants may follow a certain question and answer protocol depending on the meeting and group dynamics. Here are a few examples:
- Questions are a test. There is a right answer and a wrong answer. Questions aren’t driving things forward they are responsible only to confirm or command.
- Status questions. These questions typical apply to paths of known engagement. What is the status of the project or what are the sales figures for the month?
- Direction questions. Where do we go from here? What path should we choose? What are the options?
Perhaps deeper consideration should go into the list of attendees, the purpose of the meeting, and are these meetings effective?
Questions that are a test can likely be managed without calling a meeting. Status questions can likely be answered without calling a meeting. Direction questions may be an effective use of everyone’s time.
What is the direction the meetings you attend?
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.