Rescue pointless meetings – essential pivot questions (video transcript)

Very often meetings are ineffective and last far too long because people sit around the table workshopping and micromanaging work that doesn’t actually need to be done by the team. 

This happens all the time, where instead of assigning two people to resolve an issue, ten people sit around debating various solutions – what a waste of time!

So what can you do if you’re in a meeting like this?

Here are some of my tried and true pivot questions to get your team adding value to things that are beneficial and within the actual purview of a team. 

When someone jumps in with a solution to a problem, a great question you can ask is ‘What do we need to solve for?’ Instead of them telling you the solution, you focus that person’s attention on the reason why the problem needs solving. 

It’s also very useful to find out things such as what good would look like when solving a problem, what would it include and who the best person to deal with that would be

You could ask questions like, “What other parts of the process would they need to take into consideration?” or “What are some of the watch outs that you would want the team to be following?” All of these pivots help you to keep the conversation up at a helpful level. 

You use the team’s time to do what I call commissioning. So we’re commissioning a solution. This is what we want solved for. This is what a good solution looks like. Here’s who we want involved in crafting that solution. 

Another great question you can ask at that point is “Okay. If we have these folks go off and work on a solution, what would make them escalate? What are the situations where you wouldn’t want them to handle it on their own?” 

So all of these pivots go from a team spending too much time trying to define how to solve something, which is micromanagement, and instead focuses them on what needs to be solved. 

This will make a huge difference, taking hours of meeting time away and leaving the people responsible for the work empowered to get the job done.

More on this

How to Evaluate the Quality of Meetings

8 Techniques to Make Your Meetings More Effective (Part I)

8 Techniques to Make Meetings More Effective (Part II)