5 Ways to Make a Difference with Mindful Meetings

Vicki Flahertty.png

Time is really the only capital that any human being has

and the thing that he can least afford to waste or lose. 

― Thomas Edison

Pre-Meeting Self Check-In

Did you know that over 50% of communication is non-verbal? How you feel is likely to be picked up by others. So before the meeting, check in with yourself. What’s on your mind? How are you feeling? Anxious, sad, or energized. Take a moment to clear your mind, perhaps by focusing on your breath. Enter the meeting without unneeded thoughts and emotions interfering.

Mindful Meeting Start

Start your meetings with a short activity that invites the group to be present, focused and create a sense of shared purpose. It could be as simple as inviting everyone to take several deep breaths and to bring their attention to the meeting, letting go of what came before and all that will come after.  Your mindful opening might even involve the group sharing their intentions for the meeting, or providing context through a personal story or highlighting the strategic context. Where possible, take time for everyone to check-in and share how they are; it’s a great way to get everyone engaged and to gauge energy levels.

Late Arrivals United

If someone enters late to a meeting you are leading, welcome them. Take a moment to greet them, check in to see how they are doing, and help them feel united with the group. Show you care that they are there and that you believe they are an important part of accomplishing the team’s objectives.

Appreciation and positive acknowledgment

Be positive! Acknowledgment and appreciation can be extremely powerful. During the meeting, clearly state the value of what’s being co-created by the group. For example, after a presentation, instead of sitting in silence or being critical, you could say something such as: “Let me share with you my key take-aways.” or something as simple as “Thank you for sharing your perspective with us.”

Wrap-up with clarity

Take time at the end of the meeting to review decisions made and actions that will follow, and ensure everyone is in agreement. It is helpful to reflect on the value of what was accomplished. Be intentional about ending with enthusiasm and offer a smile. Even in virtual meetings where people can’t see you, smiling is helpful because it affects how you feel, and how you feel is picked up by participants.

Life is about the people you meet and

the things you create with them.

So go out and start creating. 

― Unknown


NOTE: This post was co-authored by Patrick Kozakiewicz and first appeared on the IBM Jobs Blog on October 13, 2016.

* I took the photo during a strategic planning meeting of my leadership development team at IBM.


Author: Vicki L Flaherty

I am most alive when I am creating, whether through writing, photography, gardening, cooking, crafting, sewing, yoga. I enjoy traveling because it opens me to greater awareness and new possibilities. I find a special joy when I’ve helped someone see their brilliance and express their full potential. As I've focused on living more mindfully, I've found special joy in expressing myself through poetry and photography, and in truly being in relationship with those I meet along my journey.

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