Measuring meeting effectiveness: 3 questions to ask after each meeting
We’ve already covered some of the many reasons why you should collect meeting feedback. Fix bad meetings! Cut out unnecessary meetings! Get rid of bad habits!
But more than that, meeting feedback is a fast and easy way for you as a manager to get near-instant feedback on how you’re doing. After all, the meeting is a medium for management: in that room, you have the opportunity to really be a manager. You can solve problems. You can boost morale. You can set your team up to succeed. Or…you can waste 30 minutes and send your team back to work feeling frustrated and unmotivated. And unless you ask your team how the meeting went, you won’t know whether you nailed it at being a manager in that meeting or not.
That’s where meeting feedback comes in.
And that’s where these three post-meeting survey questions can help: choose the one that best suits your meeting, and then ask it every single time to measure meeting effectiveness over time.
One note before we move on: there are a number of ways to bring these questions into your meetings. You can add an item onto the end of your agenda, and rate the meeting as a group before you leave the room. You can ask the question over Slack afterward.
Or…you can use SoapBox’s free Meeting Rating feature! 🎉 Whenever you finish a meeting, Meeting Rating automatically sends out a quick post-meeting survey question to all participants. You’ll be able to see the average rating for each meeting right from your agenda, so it’s easy to track meeting effectiveness over time – all from one place!
Here are 3 questions to ask to collect meeting feedback:
Post-meeting question #1: Was this meeting helpful?
Best for: Smaller team meetings and/or cross-departmental meetings
👈 Here’s how this question looks in our app!
This question measures meeting effectiveness by focusing on utility: did the participants walk away from this meeting with the tools/info/insight they needed to nail it at their job? Are they clear on what their tasks are or what is expected of them?
As we noted above, this question is also great for meetings that bring together members of multiple departments (like a weekly check-in between marketing and customer success) to ensure that both teams are getting what they need from the conversation. You might find that over time, the meeting feedback will tell you this meeting isn’t necessary any more, or that it doesn’t need to happen as often.
In our app, the three possible answers to this question are “Helpful,” “Somewhat Helpful” and “Not Helpful.” We think this is clearer than a numeric ranking (like 1-5) because it leaves less up for interpretation, but you could use whatever answer system works best for your team.
Post-meeting question #2: Has your outlook for the future changed?
Best for: One-on-ones and/or small teams
This question really asks, was this conversation meaningful?
That’s what makes it ideal for one-on-ones and smaller teams of less than three people – or even teams that are going through a period of transition. It gets at some of the more emotional or vulnerable elements of being an employee.
But that also makes it a tricky question to ask. A little back story: when we first started testing out some of these questions, we started with “Are you happy at work?” – but some people didn’t want to answer that. The word “happy” is hard for people to wrap their head around. When we eventually landed on the idea of an employee’s outlook, we found it was easier for employees to answer honestly because it removed that more emotional element of the rating system (while still really asking the same question). In a way, describing their outlook offers employees the chance to be one step removed from their feelings – and fears – at work. But they’re still sharing, which is the important part.
We also found that modifier words got a better, more honest response. That’s why our answers to this meeting effectiveness survey question are “Better,” “Same” and “Worse.” (But again, you could use whatever answers make sense to your team!)
Post-meeting question #3: How would you rate this meeting?
Best for: Any type of meeting
This is probably the most simple post-meeting survey question you can ask – which makes it a versatile option for virtually any type of meeting. You’ll find this question recommended in lots of management books as a must-have to ensure you’re always improving your meeting effectiveness by 1%.
You’ll often see this question recommended with a 1-5 or 1-10 rating scale, but again we prefer to stick to a more qualitative answer system to avoid different interpretations (also research shows that people never use the full rating scale anyway). Our answers to this question are simply “Excellent,” “Good” and “Needs Improvement.”
For all these questions, it’s important to remember that it’s less about the rating itself and more about the conversation that follows. Whether you add one of these questions to the end of your meeting agenda, ask it afterward in Slack or use SoapBox’s automated tool, it’s crucial that you’re keeping an eye on the trend over time – and following up with your team regularly on it.
In other words, it’s all well and good to see that your team thinks your meetings aren’t helpful – but what are you going to do about it? If an employee consistently rates your meetings as “Needs Improvement,” how will you improve them? That’s your role as the manager: to identify areas for improvement in your meetings, and act on them, so that little by little, your meetings are constantly becoming more effective.
Remember: SoapBox’s free Meeting Rating feature makes asking these meeting effectiveness survey questions easy (and automatic!).
Use SoapBox to improve your meetings!