Do you hate board meetings? If your answer is yes, have you ever asked yourself why? Is it because everyone in attendance is not engaged or maybe you simply do you not care for the discussion topic? Maybe you find yourself spending more time wondering what everyone else is thinking and how that translates into their behavior. The latter is what we refer to as the psychology of meetings. Analyzing who participates in meetings and why, helps us understand how to conduct effective and productive meetings where everyone walks away feeling they have gained something in way of knowledge or perspective.
Robert volunteered for his community’s architectural control committee soon after he moved in. He wanted to use his experience as an engineer to improve the association’s permit process. His knowledge and effort improved the system tremendously. He was tireless.
The board soon asked him to serve on the budget committee, then on a special task force to review facilities. Next, the board asked him to supervise a paving project. When that project was completed, Robert quit.
It’s the monthly board meeting, and you’re meeting in the kitchen of the president’s home. The first item on the agenda? Chaos. As the secretary reviews the minutes, Little Jimmy, the president’s three-year-old son, bangs a drum and parades around the table. Older son Joey fights with his sister over the television, which is only slightly louder than an Apollo moon launch. Freida, the treasurer, continually leaves the table to grab doughnuts, while Fred, a homeowner whose voice is actually louder than the TV, lobbies for approval of his Brady Bunch garden gnomes. With each interruption, the discussion strays to new and unrelated topics–when Freida explains the relationship between pet problems and UFO abductions, the president searches for the agenda, which, unfortunately, was eaten by the dog. Finally, after four hours and 16 minutes, the meeting adjourns, due to a lack of additional doughnuts.