Can mindfulness make meetings better? The short answer is YES. The long answer is YES, and it’s your job as the meeting organizer or chair to make it so. Being mindful can simply mean being intentional without attachment to outcome, and being aware. It’s the organizer or chair’s job to run a meeting and using a mindful approach can yield amazing results.
Preparing for a meeting means being clear on the intention and goals for the session. This helps to identify who should attend, what materials need to be made available in advance or at the meeting, what resources should be on hand and what roles participants will play during the meeting. Resist the temptation to have too many intentions and goals for any one meeting – keep it focused on a few clearly articulated goals and follow the KISS principal. Being intentional also means detaching from the outcome so don’t waste people’s time with a meeting asking for ideas or input if you’re already set on an outcome.
Awareness starts even before the meeting begins. Thinking about attendees in advance means being aware of any social, relationship, physical, or mental challenges that may be an issue at your meeting. Everything from comfort of the room, to natural daylight, length of meeting, dynamics between attendees and time of day will have an impact on the level of engagement and productivity of your meeting. Don’t expect great co-creation to happen right after lunch when everyone is in a food coma. Awareness during your meeting includes active listening at a transformative and transactional level. It’s not about just waiting for your turn to talk.
Being intentional and practicing awareness may seem obvious, simple concepts but brought together in a mindful way, they can have a profound impact on the quality and impact of any meeting you host.