Meetings are most useful to an organization when they promote the free spread of thoughts and ideas. It’s by soliciting the best ideas from the team that a business produces its best work. Sometimes, the best thought to share during a meeting isn’t a statement, but a question. Asking the right questions during the meeting can steer discussions in a productive way and highlight issues that haven’t been fully explored. Here are five smart questions you can ask in nearly any meeting.
Whenever a team is discussing a course of action, it’s helpful to ask how a particular option will help the organization accomplish its mission. Whether your purpose is to make money or to support a cause, framing actions in terms of the mission can make decision making easier. Keep in mind that some strategies are multi-faceted, and an activity that doesn’t directly accomplish your stated purpose can help in another way. For example, many businesses donate to charities to promote their image which can build brand awareness and customer loyalty. If appealing to your mission doesn’t produce a clear answer, Together Talk Audio has a polling feature that can be used so your call attendees can vote on a course of action.
Some employees will eagerly tell you their opinion of an issue, whereas others require some prodding. For effective team meetings, it helps to get everyone’s thoughts on the matter. If there are people who haven’t made their viewpoint known, ask them for their opinion. They may agree with a perspective that’s already been stated, but they could have something unique to say that would be lost if you hadn’t asked them. When using services like Operated Assisted conference calls from the Conference Group, you can use the Q&A feature to manage who is speaking, so all team members thoughts and opinions can be considered.
One of the dangers of a meeting, traditional and remote, is the potential for groupthink. Groupthink happens when everyone agrees with the most popular opinion, and alternatives are not thoroughly explored. Other times, a group may jump at the first good idea they hear without full consideration. No matter how good the plan, there is always an alternative. Even if the alternatives aren’t the best option, taking the time to think about other options will force the group to refine the current idea or help them to see what makes the idea so great. As the old saying goes, “Look before you leap.” Asking about alternatives creates an opportunity for the group to take a second look at the proposed course of action for possible improvements.
No one likes to be a Negative Nancy, but many businesses have been led astray by listening to the advice of Polly Positive. Every bad idea in the history of business seemed like a good idea at some point. One of the ways groupthink can hurt a team is by keeping everyone from thinking about the possible pitfalls. The worst thing that can happen from asking “What could go wrong?” is a few wasted minutes explaining how potential problems have been mitigated by planning. However, at the other end of the spectrum, looking for issues now may prevent disasters down the road. When you use Together Talk Audio for your conference calls, you can use the lecture mode to end discussions about potential problems once you’re ready to move forward with the meeting.
At the end of every meeting, it should be clear what the team members need to accomplish next. If a meeting is about to end and the next steps are unclear, don’t be afraid to ask. A detailed plan of action that includes a responsibility list ensures that everyone is on the same page about who is doing which task. If you’re using Together Talk Web from the Conference Group, you can take advantage of the collaborative notes feature to create a task list.
Learn how to get more from your meetings by discussing your organization’s needs with a Meeting Specialist from the Conference Group. We have a suite of remote meeting applications that make your remote team more effective and efficient.