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Document 9: Meeting Effectiveness Questions


The following questions have been compiled to help meetings as they strive to find the most effective ways to reach newcomers and support their own members. Groups may vote to have the MESA Representative read one of these questions during the weekly meeting announcement. They may also choose a question or set of questions from the final section to discuss at the monthly business meeting.

Before reading the question, the MESA Rep may want to say, “This question is intended to remind us of the ways our meeting can help the newcomer and communicate the message of FA recovery.”

ATTENDING IN-PERSON MEETINGS

  1. Do I treat FA meetings as formal occasions? Are the chairs set up in rows? Does the meeting start and end on time? 
  2. Is the FA meeting format read as is, without any added comments? 
  3. Do I plan my schedule so that I can consistently arrive ten minutes early to help set up the  room and greet newcomers, returning members, and visitors? Do I try to stay to help and enjoy  fellowship for a few minutes after the meeting? 
  4. Do I refrain from activities that might distract others? 
  5. Do I sit in the same seat and talk with the same people every week, or do I talk to  newcomers?
  6. Do I warmly greet all who arrive at the meeting? 
  7. Do I attend meetings with an attitude of “what can I give?” rather than “what can I get?”
  8. Do I have a personal profile on the FA website so I can receive valuable information from  my intergroup and the World Service Board? 
  9. If I find myself dozing at meetings, do I stand up in the back of the room to stay alert?
  10. Do I consistently give to the Seventh Tradition collection, contributing what I can to cover expenses?
  11. Do I wait to start sharing until I reach the front of the room and face the audience so I can be seen and heard?
  12. Do I save my questions for the break or the end of the meeting rather than interrupting the  meeting?
  13. In larger meetings, if I have more than 90 days, do I refrain from reading to give newcomers that  opportunity?
  14. Do I maintain religious and political neutrality at my meeting?
  15. Do I stand at the front of the room when giving reports or making announcements?
  16. If I notice a problem at my meeting, am I willing to bring it up for discussion at the business  meeting?
  17. Am I willing to trust in the wisdom of a Higher Power as manifested by the group conscience  even if I disagree with a decision made at my business meeting? 

 ATTENDING VIDEOCONFERENCE MEETINGS

  1. Do I sit in an upright position, if my health permits, to help me stay alert and focused during  the meeting? 
  2. Am I joining breakout rooms whenever possible? Am I using the break as an opportunity to welcome and encourage newcomers and returning members? 
  3. Before the meeting starts, do I greet everyone and not just the members I already know?  
  4. Do I refrain from activities that might distract others? 
  5. Do I avoid sitting in front of religious or ideological symbols that might confuse newcomers  about the primary purpose of FA meetings? 
  6. Do I keep the room where I attend FA meetings free of other household members and pets  during the meetings? 
  7. Do I avoid using virtual backgrounds that may distort my image?  
  8. Do I keep my camera on whenever possible to stay connected with others? 
  9. Do I look at the screen during the meeting to stay focused on the person who is sharing? 
  10. Do I sit close enough to my microphone so that I can be heard clearly? 
  11. If I’m using the “raise hand” icon at a meeting, do I remember to use the “lower hand” icon  when I’ve finished speaking or reading? 
  12. Do I mute my microphone when I’ve finished reading or sharing? 
  13. Do I save my questions for the break or the end of the meeting rather than interrupting? 
  14. In larger meetings, if I have more than 90 days, do I refrain from reading to give newcomers  that opportunity? 
  15. Do I maintain religious and political neutrality at my meeting? 
  16. Do I attend meetings with an attitude of “what can I give?” rather than “what can I get?” 
  17. Do I have a personal profile on the FA website so I can receive valuable information from my  intergroup and the World Service Board?  
  18. Do I consistently give to the Seventh Tradition collection, contributing what I can to cover  expenses? 
  19. If I notice a problem at my meeting, am I willing to bring it up for discussion at the business meeting? 
  20. Am I willing to trust in the wisdom of a Higher Power as manifested by the group conscience even if I disagree with a decision made at my business meeting? 

ATTENDING TELEPHONE MEETINGS

  1. Do I save my questions for the break or the end of the call rather than interrupting the  meeting?
  2. Do I avoid using the speaker-phone feature when sharing or reading?
  3. Do I refrain from activities that might distract others?
  4. In larger meetings, if I have more than 90 days, do I refrain from reading to give newcomers  that opportunity?
  5. Do I maintain religious and political neutrality at my meeting?
  6. Do I attend meetings with an attitude of “what can I give?” rather than “what can I get?”
  7. Do I have a personal profile on the FA website so I can receive valuable information from my  intergroup and the World Service Board?  
  8. Do I consistently give to the Seventh Tradition collection, contributing what I can to cover expenses of my intergroup and the World Service Board even if my meeting has no expenses?
  9. If I notice a problem at my meeting, am I willing to bring it up for discussion at the business  meeting?
  10. Am I willing to trust in the wisdom of a Higher Power as manifested by the group conscience  even if I disagree with a decision made at my business meeting? 

SHARING

  1. Am I fearful or self-conscious about what to say when I share? Am I asking my Higher Power for gratitude and willingness to pass on the love and hope I have found in FA?
  2. Do I refrain from mentioning food by name or giving detailed descriptions of food? If I must mention food, do I use terms like “flour product” or “sugar product”?
  3. Do I engage in “crosstalk”? This may include referring to other members by name, commenting directly on someone’s share, or giving advice.
  4. Do I try to speak clearly and at a good volume so that everyone can hear and understand me?
  5. When sharing, do I give advice, air a grievance, or try to “entertain” the group?
  6. In a large meeting, do I limit my share to five minutes, giving others a chance to speak?
  7. In a small meeting, if there aren't enough people to share, do I allow the group to decide how to spend the extra time?
  8. When qualifying, do I share from my heart, relying on my words instead of “props” such as old clothing or journals?
  9. Am I mindful in my sharing that FA is a spiritual program, not tied to any religion?
  10. Is my sharing focused on topics that unite FA members, not on things that might separate us?
  11. Do I avoid discussing potentially controversial issues in breakout rooms?
  12. Do I help to preserve anonymity at meetings by using “I” statements when I share and not talking about what others have shared, even to compliment them?
  13. When I’m sharing, do I think about what I wanted to hear when I was new?
  14. Do I remember to share for newcomers by focusing on abstinence and recovery in FA?
  15. When I share, do I talk about how the FA tools have helped in my recovery?
  16. Do I refrain from sharing about religion, politics, or other outside issues? 

DOING SERVICE 

  1. Before the meeting, during the break, and after the meeting, do I welcome newcomers and  answer their questions?
  2. Do I reach out to new or struggling members to provide support?
  3. If I hold a service position and miss my committed meeting and/or business meeting, do I arrange to have someone replace me?
  4. Am I engaged in Twelfth-Step work both in my meetings and outside of them? This might  include participating in a Local Service Group or on a world service or intergroup committee.
  5. Do I encourage members with 90 days of continuous abstinence to participate in service opportunities?
  6. Am I holding onto service positions too long rather than encouraging new members to have  the experience?
  7. When traveling do I schedule time to attend local FA meetings?
  8. Have I talked with my sponsor about how to stretch myself to “give back what we have so  generously been given”?
  9. Do I answer and return phone calls from FA members?
  10. Do I make phone calls to FA members outside of my own meetings?
  11. If no one offers to sponsor, am I willing to help someone get started?
  12. If it has been over a year since my last qualification at a committed meeting, do I offer to do that service?
  13. If I do not have 90 days of abstinence, am I consistently raising my hand to read at meetings?
  14. If I have 90 days or more of abstinence, am I raising my hand to share at meetings?
  15. If I have a service position at my meeting, do I understand the responsibilities that go with it?  
  16. Have I considered attending an FA business convention or an FA fellowship convention? 
  17. If I am a greeter, do I make follow-up calls to newcomers and returning members?
  18. Do I attend monthly business meetings? Do I volunteer for service positions?
  19. Even if I do not yet have 90 days of abstinence, do I attend business meetings?
  20. When I am sponsoring, do I suggest that my sponsees stay for business meetings, regardless of their length of abstinence? 

LEADING MEETINGS

  1. When leading a meeting, do I read the portion of the format welcoming newcomers and announcing greeters, even if I think there are no newcomers in the room?
  2. When leading a meeting and calling on members to read or share, do my choices reflect the  diversity of our fellowship?
  3. When leading a meeting, do I take a significant pause before reading the Serenity Prayer?
  4. When leading a meeting, do I start and end on time?
  5. When leading a meeting, do I invite people to share again if everyone with 90 days of  abstinence has already shared?
  6. When leading a meeting, do I give priority to people with fewer than 90 days for reading tools  and Big Book passages? 

MEETING INVENTORY

These questions are intended to be read only at business meetings. We suggest you spend a few minutes at each monthly business meeting reviewing one of them. 

  1. [For videoconference meetings] Is there a link to the newcomer packet on the virtual  literature table? Is the literature person available after the meeting?  
  2. Does our meeting start and end on time? Are members arriving 10 minutes early to set up or resolve any technical problems and to greet newcomers, returning members, and visitors? 
  3. [For in-person meetings] Do we set up the chairs in theater style to maintain a formal atmosphere?
  4. Do we follow the format for business meetings?
  5. Does our business meeting periodically discuss varying the type of meeting we choose,  whether it’s literature, qualification, sharing, or tools?
  6. Do we consistently share [chapter,] intergroup, and World Service announcements?  
  7. Are members of our meeting offering to sponsor?
  8. In our business meetings, have we discussed crosstalk as described in Document 2 of FA’s Meeting Guidelines? If so, what actions, if any, do we need to take to keep our meetings safe and welcoming?
  9. [For in-person meetings] Is the literature table easy for new members to find? Is it well  stocked, including clearly marked newcomer packets? Is it neatly arranged, and does it contain  only FA Conference-approved literature? Is the literature person available before the meeting,  at the break, and after the meeting?
  10. [For videoconference meetings] Does the literature representative share a link to the virtual  literature table and/or e-mail it to the people on the meeting list?
  11. Are newcomers and returning members the primary focus of the meeting?
  12. [For in-person meetings] Are current phone lists available on the literature table?
  13. [For videoconference meetings] Does the phone list person post a link to the current phone list  and explain how new members can be added to the list?
  14. Does our meeting last for 90 minutes?
  15. When announcing an upcoming business meeting, does our secretary encourage all members  to stay for it?
  16. Do our meetings and business meetings begin and end with the Serenity Prayer?
  17. [For in-person meetings] Are there physical aspects of the meeting space that make it difficult  for members with disabilities to participate?
  18. Does our meeting have a MESA Representative?
  19. Do members help newcomers find sponsors?
  20. Is everyone encouraged to participate in planning FA information sessions?
  21. Do we hold business meetings every month? Do business meetings take place even when some  of the members are unable to attend?
  22. [For in-person meetings] Is there a plan for inclement weather, building closures, and holidays?
  23. [For videoconference and telephone meetings] Is there a plan for meetings that fall on  holidays?
  24. Do we use the most recent FA Conference-approved meeting format?
  25. Does our meeting participate in public information service? Do we use the PI Resources page  on the FA website?
  26. [For in-person meetings] Do we have members who are willing to carpool if there is a need?
  27. Does our speaker seeker choose members to qualify who reflect the diversity and wide range of experience in our fellowship?
  28. [For in-person meetings] Does our signage make it easy for newcomers to find the meeting room?
  29. Does our meeting contact keep the information on our meeting up to date on the FA website?
  30. After setting aside a prudent reserve (usually one month's expenses), do we send the remainder of our Seventh Tradition to our chapter or intergroup and World Service, Inc.?
  31. As our meeting grows, do we increase the number of greeters?
  32. Do we limit announcements to World Service and intergroup communications or other matters  directly related to FA meetings, rather than announcing social events or other outside issues?
  33. Has our meeting chosen a World Service Conference member to attend the FA business convention if we have members with at least five years of abstinence?
  34. Are we adhering to all the disciplines of the meeting?
  35. [For in-person meetings] Do we provide formats in large print for anyone who might need  them?  
  36. Does our phone list include telecommunication device (TTY/TDD) numbers required to reach  members who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech impairment?
  37. [For in-person meetings] Do we offer seats near the front of the room to members who may  have special needs?  
  38. Are we asking our Higher Powers to help us set aside any conceptions of age, gender, sexual preference, race, religion, or differing ability that might prevent us from passing on our  recovery to other FA members?
  39. [For videoconference meetings] Do we enable closed captioning for members who have a  hearing impairment? 

If you have suggestions or comments about this document, contact mesa@foodaddicts.org.