The Purpose and Methods of Meeting Evaluation
To maintain and improve meeting quality, we can use a tool called meeting evaluation. There are various methods to evaluate a meeting. One should select a right method to evaluate the meeting based on the specific situation of the meeting. And I suggest an integrated evaluation including short term and long term evaluation.
People to a certain extent have negative attitudes about meetings. Humorist John Cleese (1993) used “Meetings, Bloody Meetings” as title of his educational (but humorous) videotape on the subject. DeWine (2001) wrote that meetings are “usually thought of as time wasters.” Scott Snair (2003) even wrote a book titled “Stop the meeting, I want to get off” to express his extreme hate about meaningless and terrible meetings and discuss managerial methods with no meetings. But meetings do have values in every organization. We need meetings for the reasons below: 1.
To announce organizational changes and keep employees up to date 2.
To produce solutions and to increase the number of different solutions to organizational problems 3.
To gain “buy in” or acceptance of a decision through participation 4.
To “cultivate members as individuals” and create group cohesion (Dewine, 2001)
So we have to do something to improve the meetings we hold to become performance enhancers but not time-wasters, and one of the most effective ways to improve meetings is meetings evaluation. In this paper I will present you opinions of three famous authors about why and how to implement meetings evaluation, and also my position about this subject.
Opinions of author No.1
Homer Smith (1983) argues in an article “Make meeting evaluation more than a ‘happiness check’” that “meeting planners, like space age scientists, can use a valuable tool called feedback to keep themselves on target.” He believes that the professional meeting planner in "ground control' can use feedback from participants or selected observers during and after the meeting to keep it moving toward its objective and to suggest improvements for future meetings. He says that methods used to evaluate meetings vary according to the need and purpose of the evaluation and the skill of the planner in getting the right kind of information and meeting frequency. He believes that the most common evaluation consists of a simple form with the key question asks the home-going participant to rate the overall meeting on a 1-to-10, poor-to-excellent scale handed out at the end of the meeting turns out to be of some limited value because those who take time to turn in a form will seldom check anything less than good. Those with some negative opinions will usually ignore the sheet, particularly if it is to be signed. They figure it's not worth the risk of personal repercussions. After analyzing some other evaluation methods providing only a sampling of opinions, Homer Smith says that the meeting-critique sheet at the end of each session or of the meeting can be a valuable evaluation tool provided that the questions are carefully structured so that they bring out the true feelings of the participants. Homer Smith lists some special guidelines for consideration in developing special meeting-critique sheet: 1. Make it clear to the participants that the evaluator honestly wants their input and that the evaluator will consider their recommendations for future meetings. 2. Specifically ask people not to sign the sheet. Experience shows that you will get more authentic information this way. Giving a choice of signing or not doesn't help because everyone knows you can trace the author by elimination. 3. Try to get a sheet back from everyone. Have people drop the sheet in a box as they file out, or require people to turn it in to receive a final handout will be two of the many powerful techniques. 4. Don't ask too many questions. That suggests that you don't have a plan of your own....
References: Cleese, J. (1993). Meetings, Bloody Meetings [Motion Picture]. (Available from Video Arts Limited, Chicago)
Dewine, S. (2001). The Consultant 's Craft: Improving Organizational Communication. : Bedford/St. Martin 's.
Mina, Eli (2002). The Ten Key Ingredients of a Successful Meeting. In The Business Meetings Sourcebook (1 ed., pp. 225-248). New York: American Management Association.
Mina, Eli (2002). Postmeeting Activities. In The Business Meetings Sourcebook (1 ed., pp. 524-533). New York: American Management Association.
Smith, H. (1983). Make meeting evaluation more than a 'happiness check '. Sales & Marketing Management, 131, 102.
Snair, S. (2003). Stop the Meeting I Want to Get Off!: How to Eliminate Endless Meetings While Improving Your Team 's Communication, Productivity, and Effectiveness (1 ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Streibel , B. J. (2003). Closing the Meeting and Following Up. In The Manager 's Guide to Effective Meetings (pp. 93-102). Chicago: McGraw-Hill.
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