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spike bullet May 2016 ~ Three Keys to Meeting Success

1. Process Satisfaction    
2. Content Satisfaction
3. Psychic Satisfaction
Resources (links, books, articles, the lighter side)
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color bulletMay 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 engaging?  

No doubt all of the above.

Key ideas  Business meeting graphic (free clip art)

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 clear.
  • 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.

2.  Content Satisfaction.  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, experience.  

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 included.
  • 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 presentation.
  • 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 life!

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.  Article used with permission of author.

  Internet Resources

book graphic  Books   -  Disclosure: We get a small commission for purchases made via links to Amazon.

  • 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, 2015.  ISBN 978-1-312-29139-3 (paperback).  ISBN 978-1-329-58227-9 (ebook/PDF).
  • Income Without a Job: Living Well Without a Paycheck.  Michael Jay Anthony, Barbara J. Taylor., 2008  ISBN-13: 978-0-557-00377-8.  Website:  Tap into your own creativity and use  your full potential.  Learn how to see opportunities that others miss.   

world wide web - articles  Articles

Related newsletter article:
    August 1997 - Improving verbal communications
    November 2015 - How To Get Things Done
    June 2006 - Networking For Fun and Profit
    February 2003 - Conflict Resolution
    August 1999 - It's The Manager
    May 1999 - Respect

smiley graphic  The Lighter Side  

  • 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

About our resource links:  We do not endorse or agree with all the beliefs in these links.   We do keep an open mind about different viewpoints and respect the ability of our readers to decide for themselves what is useful.

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Page updated: October 16, 2023      

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