Practical Tools for Mindful Meetings

How do you feel about meetings? Whether it’s positive or negative, it’s not a stretch to think that this impacts how you feel about your job in general.

Meetings do in fact influence employee’s overall job satisfaction. But what if you’re not the one planning and running the show? Though this might make you feel powerless to improve your experience, that might not be the case.

Exercising mindfulness in these situations can help shift your perspective on meetings from “suffering through” to “keen to collaborate.”

Try these three steps to bring more mindfulness to the table.

Mental preparation

Try not to head into every meeting in a mental (and literal) rush. Mentally prepare yourself by taking a few deep breaths and committing to bringing your full attention to the discussion. After all, if you have to be present for a meeting, it's certainly best to make the most of that time.

If you have questions or ideas to bring to the table, get these down on paper and bring them with you. This will allow you to actively listen, rather than straining to remember what you wanted to say.

Go in with a positive mindset

A study which recorded over 90 team meetings found that the quality of meetings impacts team productivity and organisation success. As you would expect, organised and productive meetings had great benefit. 

But negative meetings had an even stronger negative association with positive outcomes. Negative attitudes, poor communication and criticising were the main culprits.

The takeaway? Don’t head into that meeting room in a stressful, critical mood. Be the co-worker that people want to work with, not against. Exercise open-mindedness, positivity and patience when listening and speaking—that’s a recipe for meeting success.

Ditch the phone

Would it surprise you to know that we react to our phones in the same way as we do to the sound of our name? One study aimed to find out whether the location of participants’ silenced mobiles would negatively affect their cognitive performance. The outcome?

It turns out that the more aware you are of your phone, the more your cognitive capacity decreases. This can be explained by our brains' limited attention capacity for an environment full of input. Despite these findings, nearly 76% of study participants believed their phones had zero impact on their performance.

So, should mindful meetings be mobile-free?

It’s worth giving it a go. Jot down what you need from your phone before your next meeting. If you’re planning on taking notes on your phone, try pen and paper instead. Though it may feel a bit old-school, this may boost your ability to stay present and retain what is discussed.

If you find that these practical actions make you feel better and get more out of your team meetings, why not suggest implementing them to the whole team?