Questions anyone? 6 ways to solicit feedback at your next meeting

Ever been to a meeting where questions are left for the boss’ last 30 seconds in the room? Ever left a meeting with more questions than you started it with? If you answered yes, you’ve been a victim. A victim of a one way communicator.

Modern interaction is defined by two way commuincation. Enter, user generated content (think Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger). Web 2.0 has raised bar on the two-way communication expectations of many of today’s even aging audiences. Feedback is the key to effective communication in the workplace – and is the basic premise upon which two way communication is built. Going back to communication 101: Sender encodes and sends the message, receiver decodes the message and gives feedback. But what happens if your reciever(s) don’t give feedback in a meeting – if when asked for same, none is given?

If that’s happening, your audience can be any number of things from bored and tired to upset or even (gasp) disinterested. As an effective communicator its your goal to ensure the messages can go through ALL of those hurdles (noise in the communication channel) and not only reaches the “receivers” of the message, but also engenders feedback. Here are a few tips:

  1. K.Y.A.: Knowing Your Audience is the communicators step number one to ensure you don’t have to C.Y.A. after an event/ meeting. K.Y.A. means understanding who they are, why they are coming to the meeting, what they care about, what they “think” they will hear about, how they are likely to receive the message and where they are likely  to repeat the message;
  2. Plan for the Good, the bad and the ugly: You kow the audience, now cater your messages for the good, bad and ugly among them. I don’t mean the look wise. Focus on those who are most likely to be negative to your message and craft statements in a way to convince them without being defensive. The ugly are the ones you’ll never convince – so plan to listen.
  3. Have an agenda. Share it before the meeting. Solicit additional agenda items – thereby asking for input before the meeting and engaging your adience before you walk in the door;
  4. OUt of the Box: Position a question box or email address where attendees can send agenda items or questions before the meeting. Have the chair commit to answering these questions.
  5. Plant strategic questions: My  5th tip is the one that engenders feedback. Why? BC communication is planned. So, maybe you start with why people came to the meeting, then as you share each point or agenda item, ask whether people think this agenda item or another should be covered next, whether the order of the agenda meets their needs, and what they think of the issues discussed.
  6. Ask for feedback at the end of meeting – in the room and within 24 hours. Wait more than 24 hours and the feedback won’t be fresh. Immediate feedback tends to lack critical suggestions – never the less, ask immediately IN ADDITION to that questionnaire (www.surveymonkey.com ) you will email them after the meeting

Other tips? OMG start on time, provide snacks and breaks if the meeting will be long and maintain a positive message even if the meeting goes aggressive. Any other suggestions? Leave them on the comment section of this blog! 🙂

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One Response to “Questions anyone? 6 ways to solicit feedback at your next meeting”

  1. Game Well and Truly Over Says:

    Starting on time is important, but I would like to add “finishing on time” as well. The person running the meeting needs to respect the participants’ time.

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