beachLast time I defined several ways to have bad meetings. This post was going to explore one of those “bad ways to have meeting” in detail. Then I realized it would be better to start by defining what a “good meeting” is so you know what I’m aiming at and what my definition of “good” is.

Defining Good Meetings

The simplest way I define a good meeting is: a gathering of two or more people where everyone, including the facilitator, has positive feelings and progress was made towards a goal. Another gauge is if people felt the meeting was a good use of their time. I didn’t think about this until I started attending a string of meetings (where I wasn’t the facilitator) that left me feeling off, sometimes frustrated other times annoyed, disconnected or sad.  Also telling was dread I felt as the next meeting approached or joy I felt when I had a conflict and wouldn’t be able to attend. When I think of a good meeting it’s not these feelings.

What Are You Feeling?

What is all this “feelings stuff” about anyway and do they really relate to meetings? I think this they do. They apply to all areas of our lives. The non-violent communication framework developed by Marshall Rosenburg describes feelings as emotions reflecting whether or not our needs are being met. Here is a list of primary feelings we experience when our needs are met.

  • Affectionate
  • Confident
  • Engaged
  • Inspired
  • Excited
  • Exhilarated
  • Grateful
  • Hopeful
  • Joyful
  • Peaceful
  • Refreshed

Feelings when our needs are not met:

  • Afraid
  • Annoyed
  • Angry
  • Aversion
  • Disconnected
  • Disquiet
  • Embarrassed
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Sad
  • Tense
  • Vulnerable
  • Yearning

The reference for this list is here. Think about the last meeting you attended and identify the feelings you felt afterwards. Did you feel engaged, hopeful, or inspired or did you leave feeling annoyed, disconnected or dread?

Are You Being Energized or Drained?

Another way of determining what makes a meeting good is to think about all the meetings you attend and identify which meetings “give you energy” and which ones take it away. I got this idea from a friend attempting to identify helpful and unhelpful work interactions. He started a routine after each meeting where he asked himself whether the meeting he had just finished:

  • Gave energy
  • Took energy away
  • Left him feeling neutral impact

His observation was that a number of the meetings he attends take away energy. The compound affect he observed was this constant energy drain was turning him into a person he didn’t want to be, at work and at home.

Over To You

How would you define a good meeting and what criteria do you use to decide? I look forward to your comments below.

Up Next

Next time I’ll take a deeper look at identifying feelings and using them as a driver for change.