I attended two very different meetings yesterday. In one, the energy level was high – lots of enthusiasm, participation and ideas were freely flowing whether or not everyone agreed with them or not. To me, the first meeting was analogous with an exothermic chemical reaction where energy is released as reactants are combined, mixed together and the energy is available for use.
Exothermic reaction: reactants -> products + energy
Exothermic meeting: people -> ideas + energy
The second meeting was much lower energy. A minority of the group engaged rarely, did not volunteer their thoughts, did not put forward suggestions and ideas. By not contributing it felt like they were removing energy from the room, perhaps taking it elsewhere but it certainly wasn’t available to the meeting participants. If it were a team meeting (it wasn’t) it would have been a good example of pseudo team where the sum of the parts was less than the whole.
Endothermic reaction: reactants -> products - energy
Endothermic meeting: people -> ideas - energy
There really is no point attending meetings to suck energy from the room. If you are silent when decisions are made in your presence, then implicitly you are agreeing to those decisions. You don’t have the luxury position of then saying you didn’t agree and complaining about them at the water cooler or over coffee.