May 2016 ~ Three Keys to Meeting Success
- 1. Process Satisfaction
- 2. Content Satisfaction
- 3. Psychic Satisfaction
- Resources (links, books, articles, the
2016 ~ Three Keys to Meeting Success
by: Baldwin H. Tom, CMC
It doesn’t take an article in a prominent business school magazine to tell
us we attend a lot of meetings. Interestingly, the article went on to say
that we like meetings! Even though we find most meetings marginally
productive, take longer than necessary and some a waste of time, we still attend
them. Apparently we need meetings for social interactions, for an outlet
and validation of our ideas and because we expect (or hope) something important
or at least useful, will be presented. I go for all those reasons.
Beyond the need, what makes for a satisfying meeting?
- What do you like about those meetings in which you walk away feeling
energized, feeling it was worth the time investment?
- Was it because the meeting was well organized?
- Was it that the material was of specific interest to you?
- Was it that the meeting atmosphere and exchanges were positive and
No doubt — all of the above.
From our work with many groups, both friendly and contentious, we have
learned that there are three keys to meeting success – process satisfaction,
content satisfaction and psychic satisfaction. The order of
these keys is deliberate and important.
1. Process Satisfaction.
When participants believe a meeting will be well run and a process to manage the
meeting will be used, there is a positive expectation for the meeting.
What creates process satisfaction?
- Ground rules for participation are known.
- Roles and responsibilities of the leader/facilitator and participants are
- Agreement on a set of desired behaviors is made.
- Every person can speak without interruption.
- Disruptive and dominant persons are under control.
- The meeting stays on task and on time.
- Most importantly the meeting starts and ends on time.
Without process satisfaction, it is a tough task to gain content
satisfaction. No matter the value of the content, if the meeting is not
under control, a focus on content is difficult or not at all.
Content satisfaction begins with a useful agenda. The agenda is a
roadmap that sets the stage for success in dealing with the contents of a
meeting. Without a roadmap, then all paths (including dead ends) will
arise when the meeting starts, leading to a chaotic, not satisfying,
Here are ideas to optimize content satisfaction:
- Send out an agenda at least 3-5 days ahead of the meeting. The more
pre-reading and work that is required for the meeting, the earlier the agenda
is sent out.
- Do a topics check at the beginning of the meeting to be certain there is
agreement with the topics. Ask for any other topics that should be
- Since the agenda will be set up with a time schedule, it is important to
have agreement which topics should have priority (need more time) and be at
the top of the list of topics. This is an important point also when a
participant may be leaving early and their input is needed. Rearrange
topics as needed.
- When, in the course of the meeting, a new subject arises that is not part
of the original list, deal with it by setting it aside in a "to be
considered" bin. The key is to acknowledge that the new topic is
recognized and will not be considered until the end (if time permits) or at
the next meeting.
3. Psychic Satisfaction.
The first two satisfactions address our left-brain need for order. Psychic
satisfaction is clearly a right brain component. This satisfaction may be
the WD-40© lubricant to meeting success. With this, we
walk away feeling good about the meeting. If it is missing, we do not feel
good about the meeting, even if there is Content satisfaction. So what are
the contributors to psychic satisfaction?
We feel good about a meeting when:
- Participants are valued — meaning everyone
is given a chance to speak.
- Participants are respected — where no one
is cut off in mid-sentence as often happens in meetings. We allow
everyone to complete their thoughts before commenting or criticizing.
We don’t try to finish someone’s sentence when there is a pause in their
- Participants try to be yay-sayers, not nay-sayers. It
is so easy to criticize rather than make useful suggestions.
- Ideas and positions may be attacked, not people personally.
- Disruptive individuals are not tolerated.
- The atmosphere is positive, even when the topic is difficult.
Working with groups is much like a full contact sport. It is full
contact because it engages both sides of the brain to achieve full
satisfaction from a meeting. In fact, it engages body, mind, spirit and
relationships, the same components needed in creating a balanced, fulfilling
At your next meeting, decide whether you consider it fully successful or not
and then see if the three satisfactions were met. We expect you
will find that the best meetings have all three covered. The less
successful meetings lack coverage of one or more of the satisfactions.
By the way, if you utilize a facilitator instead of having the leader manage the
meeting, that can enhance meeting success.
Have a happy meeting day!
About the Author: Baldwin H.
Tom CMC. ® His award-winning
firm, The Baldwin Group, helps clients work smarter, save time and money and
gain peace-of-mind. With a strong code of ethics, this ResultantSM
team receives accolades for customer service. National Chair of the
Institute of Management Consultants USA, 2004-2006. http://tbgva.net.
Article used with permission of author.
- Boring Meetings Suck: Get More Out of Your Meetings, or Get Out of More Meetings.
Jon Petz. Wiley, 2011. ISBN: 978-1118004623
- Say It with Presentations: How to Design and Deliver Successful Business Presentations, Revised & Expanded Edition 2nd Edition.
Gene Zelazny. McGraw-Hill, 2006. ISBN: 978-0071472890
- Meetings That Get Results (The Brian Tracy Success Library) Brian
Tracy. AMACOM, 2016. ISBN: 978-0814437056
- Meetings: Do's, Don'ts and Donuts : The Complete Handbook for Successful Meetings
Sharom Lippincott. Lighthouse Point Press, 1994. ISBN: 978-0963796639
- We've Got to Start Meeting Like This: A Guide to Successful Meeting Management
Roger Mosvick. Park Avenu Productions, 1996. ISBN: 978-1571120694
- Great Meetings! Great Results 2nd Edition Dee Kelsey, Pam Plumb.
Hanson Park Press, 2004. ISBN: 978-0965835411
- Powerfully Simple Meetings: Your Guide For Fewer, Faster, More Focused Meetings.
Peter Kidd, Bryan Field. MeetingResult, 2014. ISBN: 978-0989094504
- Successful Meetings: How to Plan, Prepare, and Execute Top-Notch Business Meetings
Shri Henkel. Atlantic Publishing Group, 2007. ISBN: 978-0910627917
- Successful Minute Taking and Writing.: How to Prepare, Write and Organize Agendas and Minutes of Meetings. Learn to Take Notes and Write Minutes of Meetings
(Skills Training Course). Heather Baker. Universe of
Learning Ltd., 2012. ISBN: 978-1849370769
- How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships.
Leil Lowndes. McGraw-Hill, 2003. ISBN: 978-0071418584
- The High Price of Manhood: A man's action plan for getting along better
in the 21st century. Michael Jay Anthony. Lulu,
- Income Without a Job: Living Well Without a Paycheck. Michael
Jay Anthony, Barbara J. Taylor. Lulu.com,
978-0-557-00377-8. Website: www.income-without-a-job.com.
Tap into your own creativity and use your full potential. Learn
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Related newsletter article:
August 1997 - Improving verbal communications
November 2015 - How To Get Things
June 2006 - Networking For Fun and
February 2003 - Conflict Resolution
August 1999 - It's The Manager
May 1999 - Respect
- The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong.
The amount of work is the same. – Carlos Castaneda
- The great accomplishments of man have resulted from the transmission of ideas of enthusiasm. – Thomas J. Watson
- Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. – Theodore Roosevelt
- Even if you are on the right track, You’ll get run over if you just sit there. – Will Rogers
- Look well to this day. Yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision.
Today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day. – Francis Gray
- Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. – Dwight Eisenhower
- A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts. – Richard Branson
- Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable. – Coco Chanel
- The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will and I am.
Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do. – Dennis Waitley
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