By Vicki Flaherty and Patrick Kozakiewicz
Do you ever catch yourself running from one meeting to another? Do you find yourself focusing on what’s actually happening or all the things you’ve got to do after? We understand such situations and have pulled together a collection of 5 ways you can improve your meeting experience.
Time is really the only capital that any human being has and the thing that he can least afford to waste or lose. ― Thomas Edison
Pre-Meeting Self Check-In
Did you know that over 50% of communication is non-verbal? How you feel is likely to be picked up by others. So before the meeting, check in with yourself. What’s on your mind? How are you feeling? Anxious, sad, or energized. Take a moment to clear your mind, perhaps by focusing on your breath. Enter the meeting without unneeded thoughts and emotions interfering.
Mindful Meeting Start
Start your meetings with a short activity that invites the group to be present, focused and create a sense of shared purpose. It could be as simple as inviting everyone to take several deep breaths and to bring their attention to the meeting, letting go of what came before and all that will come after. Your mindful opening might even involve the group sharing their intentions for the meeting, or providing context through a personal story or highlighting the strategic context. Where possible, take time for everyone to check-in and share how they are; it’s a great way to get everyone engaged and to gauge energy levels.
Late Arrivals United
If someone enters late to a meeting you are leading, welcome them. Take a moment to greet them, check in to see how they are doing, and help them feel united with the group. Show you care that they are there and that you believe they are an important part of accomplishing the team’s objectives.
Appreciation and positive acknowledgment
Be positive! Acknowledgment and appreciation can be extremely powerful. During the meeting, clearly state the value of what’s being co-created by the group. For example, after a presentation, instead of sitting in silence or being critical, you could say something such as: “Let me share with you my key take-aways.” or something as simple as “Thank you for sharing your perspective with us.”
Wrap-up with clarity
Take time at the end of the meeting to review decisions made and actions that will follow, and ensure everyone is in agreement. It is helpful to reflect on the value of what was accomplished. Be intentional about ending with enthusiasm and offer a smile. Even in virtual meetings where people can’t see you, smiling is helpful because it affects how you feel, and how you feel is picked up by participants.
Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them. So go out and start creating. ― Unknown
For more on working and living more mindfully, visit our mindfulness series.
We hope you find the suggested mindfulness approaches useful for creating greater awareness in your life and work. Please feel free to add a comment below to let us know how you have got on.
Vicki Flaherty is responsible for executive leadership development and leads the Mindfulness@IBM community. She is the author of Developing Leaders through Socially Responsible Service Projects in Using Experience to Develop Leadership Talent: How Organizations Leverage OnThe Job Development. You’ll find her on LinkedIn and Twitter and over at her Leading with Intention blog.
Patrick Kozakiewicz is a Senior Business Compliance Professional and Mindfulness Coach @IBM Poland. He is a curious and passionate being who loves life, nature, people and food. You’ll find him on LinkedIn.
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