The Meeting is Over. Now it's Time to Evaluate and Improve!

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Image of man looking through binoculars depicting the need to perform a post meeting assessment.

Your meeting is over and it is now time to take stock.... Was the meeting a success? Were established goals and objectives reached? What follow-up steps remain?  A timely, well planned "post meeting review" will provide all these answers - delivering a relevant, reliable path to continuous improvement for all types of meetings.  Read on to learn more.

Of all the steps taken to plan, prepare and hold a business meeting, the most strategic work may very well take place after the physical meeting has ended. As a meeting leader, you must be able to evaluate the results achieved, to follow-up on pending action items, and to plan better meetings in the future. Every meeting is a process, and evaluation makes the process complete. Hopefully, your meeting was held with a purpose, and it is now time to see whether that purpose was met. If the purpose was not met, then you need to look carefully at the process you followed for meeting planning and preparation. Did the meeting fail to meet its purpose because of poor planning, a lack of preparation, bad timing, participant issues, or was the meeting inappropriate from the start?  Whatever the cause, you need to know -- and you can find out with a few basic steps and key questions.


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Getting Started: Post Meeting Assessment Steps

An effective post meeting assessment relies on accurate information and a fully comprehensive analysis of four (4) key "performance" factors:  meeting results, meeting process, participation/tone, and "next steps".  As the review is executed, specific "assessment" questions must be addressed (per factor), utilized to measure and evaluate overall meeting performance.  The goal is to determine whether or not all key needs and expectations were fulfilled.

Were meeting results successful and "as needed"?

  • What was the purpose of the meeting?
  • Was the purpose met, and to what extent? (fully, somewhat or not at all)
  • Were planned decisions made as required and expected?
  • If decisions were not made as expected, why not?
  • Based on the results of the meeting, was this meeting necessary and worthwhile?

Was the meeting well planned and executed?

  • Did the meeting start and end on time?
  • Was the meeting held at the right time and in the right place?
  • Was the correct mechanism and venue used (physical meeting, phone conference, video conference)?
  • Could better results have been achieved through a different meeting mechanism?
  • Were any technical or logistical problems experienced?
  • Did all or most invitees attend?
  • If attendance levels were not as required and expected, what was the cause?
  • Were the presentation materials properly prepared and distributed in advance of the meeting?
  • Did the quality or quantity of presentation materials enhance or diminish overall meeting success?
  • Was sufficient time allocated for the meeting?
  • Was the meeting too lengthy or too short?

Was the meeting "tone and participation level" sufficiently positive and productive?

  • Were all agenda items covered? If not, what was the reason?
  • Are you satisfied with the quality and quantity of meeting participation?
  • If participation was not as expected and as required, why not?
  • Did you have the right mix of attendees and participants?
  • Were participation roles and responsibilities communicated and clarified prior to the start of the meeting?
  • Was the discussion properly controlled and managed?
  • Were certain individuals allowed to dominate the discussion to the detriment of others?
  • Did the meeting have a positive or negative tone?
  • If the meeting tone was negative, what was the reason, and could the negativity have been avoided?
  • Did the meeting "tone" have a negative or positive impact on overall meeting success?

Were all follow-up actions and "next steps" properly identified, recorded and tracked?

  • What next steps and action items were identified and assigned at this meeting?
  • Were these steps and assignments appropriate considering the original purpose of the meeting?
  • Were the next steps and action items fully documented at the end of the meeting?
  • Did all participants leave the meeting with a clear understanding of all the next steps?
  • What procedures will be followed to ensure that assignments and next steps are properly executed and completed?

Once all assessment factors and variables have been considered, and "performance" has been analyzed, it's time to put the results to use as "lessons learned".  In the meeting context, "lessons" can be applied to improve the way meetings are scheduled, planned, conducted and documented (including the preparation of meeting materials and minutes.


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