Mindfulness For Better Meetings

Meetings are an indispensable part of business. However, not all of these sit-downs are productive. In the US alone, one-third of 11 million meetings held each day are unproductive. That translates to a cost of $37 billion each year.

If meetings are unavoidable, what can save it from becoming time-wasters? Distractions make meetings turn bad: not listening, not focusing or not preparing. So, for that time to count, we all need to be more attentive and more mindful at meetings.

Here are six ways mindfulness can rescue your meetings:

Start on time

Did you know research has found 37 percent of meetings start late? That contributes a lot to unproductiveness because lateness results in negative moods which impact performance. Arriving on time gets you a step closer to a better meeting before even speaking a word.

Prepare well

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, has no time for people who attend meetings unprepared. It’s a fair expectation given his time is very valuable.

Your colleagues’ time is too. So, be mindful of preparing well. Have responses ready for follow-up questions and try to anticipate other’s concerns.

Be present

Distractions destroy conversations. That’s why Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, starts meetings with meditation. Why not start with a minute of deep breathing, so everyone can gather their thoughts and be on the same page?

Phones are the worst meeting detractors. It sidetracks you, and it interrupts others. So, keep it off the desk, leave it on silent (or vibrate) and only take urgent calls.

Stick to an agenda

Take a literal leaf out of Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg’s notebook. She has agenda items for every meeting, and once all are crossed off, the session ends—despite what the diary says.

Got something to say beyond the agenda? Jot down additional ideas on a ‘parking lot’ and come back to it next time. This allows you to stay on-point and attentive to the current meeting.

Listen attentively, speak sparingly

Ever notice how the word ‘listen’ is an anagram of ‘silent’? Mindfulness experts suggest facilitators go through agenda items and have each person comment on it in rounds. This gives everyone a chance to speak, prevents interruptions and allows everyone present to listen fully.

End positively

Before you all rush out to the next meeting, make time to gather constructive feedback from each attendee. Ask what key points they’ll take away or what was the best thing about this session. Always end on a high note!

Don’t get trapped in another productive meeting. Be a mindful meeting attendee and organiser, so no one else has to suffer!