There’s no avoiding it, meetings are a workplace reality.
Explore these 3 simple mindful meeting practices with your team today and build greater connection and less stress at your next meeting:
1. Try 1 minute of silence at the beginning of your next meeting.
For me, mindfulness in workplace meetings is very much connected with the notion of ‘arriving’. How many times do we head into a meeting with our thoughts still lingering on a task back in our office, or our minds absorbed on how to tackle a problem on the horizon? Multiply those distractions by the number of team members at the meeting, and its a recipe for confusion. In order to truly ‘arrive’, it’s helpful to use a marker of time to begin the meeting. Start your next meeting with 1 minute of silence. Encourage everyone to relax in their seats, place any devices face down, and avoid doodling. Sit with the awareness of simply being in the room, in the seat, feet on the ground. To help with the experience, encourage your team pay attention to any background sounds in the room, or observe their breathing while they truly arrive. Mark the end of the minute, and begin!
2. Change up meeting locations.
Predictability can lead to monotony, and in return, slow down creativity and problem solving. Why not move your meeting to a new location for a change? Some suggestions I’ve seen are: the staff kitchen, outdoors at a park nearby, standing up instead of seated, etc. The key element to any meeting is that people feel that their participation is valued, their presence is important, and time has been spent to ensure that the meeting will be as productive as possible. Ask the team for suggestions on ways to freshen up meeting time, and see what arises….
3. Who’s doing all the talking?
So much has been written about different workplace communication, it goes without saying we all have our own style for showing up at work. I think it’s fair to say most of us are guilty at times of thinking of what we plan to say while listening to someone else share their viewpoint. Planning and rehearsing is often hard wired into our approach from a very young age. Encourage your team to notice when they are thinking and planning vs. listening. And as a follow-up to that, experiment with a one voice speaking rule. See if your team can avoid interrupting, and permit one voice in the room at a time.
And because the reality is not every day is going to be our ‘best day’, start the meeting with a brief check-in. Have each person express in one word how they are feeling in that moment. Perhaps awkward at first, it can lead to enhanced empathy, trust and connection.