“As a participant in any meeting, Sheila, have you ever walked out at the end saying, Darn, I wish we had done this at the meeting.”
“Well, yeah. Almost every meeting I go to, is like that. Sometimes, it wouldn’t take much to make a meeting more meaningful,” she replied. “Almost every time, it misses the mark.”
“So, you think a meeting would have been better if it had just included some unspoken element?” I asked.
“Then, up front at the beginning of the meeting, does it make sense to get those unspoken elements out on the table?”
Sheila tilted her head. “How would you do that?”
“If you are the leader of the meeting, early on, after establishing the purpose for the meeting, simply ask, What is your condition of satisfaction for today’s meeting. What has to happen, by the end of the day, for you to say, this meeting was worthwhile, to say, you are glad you came, you are glad you contributed?
“As the leader of the meeting,” I continued. “You might as well know that up front.”