When we arrive at a meeting, our thoughts are often elsewhere rather than in the room – with the unfinished task we have just left, the things that we have to do, the work that will not get done as a result of the meeting.
So we do not have a meeting of minds, because the minds of people “present” are elsewhere – we have a physical collection of people. People are not present in the sense that their attention is not fully on the meeting, its purpose and goals.
What exacerbates this situation is that many people “at” the meeting are checking their phones for their latest emails or social media updates, doing their to-do lists or planning another activity. This multitasking in itself is both personally injurious (can cause inflammation of the brain) and contaminates the meeting (inattention spreads).
What some organisations are starting to do now is to begin their meetings with a short reflection time (5-10 minutes) so that people can become grounded and really present. Besides helping people to become focused on the meeting and its purpose, this reflection time reminds people why they are at the meeting and the need to attend to (pay attention to) what is going on.
At a recent mindfulness conference, a group of digital designers from a bank decided then and there that they would start their meetings with a ten minute reflection time. They realised the power of reflection to develop focus and release creativity.
If you do build in time for reflection at the start of a meeting you will experience a heightened level of focused energy and strengthening of team spirit. You will also be more productive as a team. Residual resentments about missed opportunities will be less likely to contaminate the meeting process.
Starting your meetings with time for reflection also helps your team to grow in mindfulness and focused attention so that the benefits flow beyond the meeting.
Image Source: Courtesy of ForMyKerttu on Pixabay