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What is mindfulness? In simple terms, mindfulness means being present. It’s paying attention to what is going on right now. It also means doing so without judgment. There is no right or wrong way. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Dr. Danny Penman noted, “Becoming aware of what’s going on around you can make a huge difference, because we spend so much time wrapped up in our thoughts that we lose contact with the real world.”
Studies have found that some of the benefits of mindfulness include, stress reduction, better working memory, and increased focus – all characteristics that can lead to increased productivity at work. But it can be hard to figure out how to make your workplace more mindful, especially during meetings. Where do you begin?
The workplace can be hectic sometimes. There are looming deadlines, profit margins, and sometimes the pace can be overwhelming. With all the hustle, workers often find themselves taking on many tasks at once. In meetings, this may mean checking emails, sending texts, or doing research while the meeting is happening. Make meetings a place where you only focus on the task at hand. Have employees turn off devices…or better yet, leave them at their desk.
Meeting outlines allow you to stay on track. They allow you to maintain focus on the current discussion and guide your mind back to focus if the conversation goes off course. Outlines are great for the person leading the meeting, but they can also help everyone else in the meeting stay focused as well. Make a habit of creating an agenda and give each team member a copy before, or at the beginning of the meeting.
An essential component of mindfulness is withholding judgment. In the realm of a meeting this could mean allowing everyone to feel heard and appreciated. Promote an environment within your meeting (and in other departments as well) where employees want to contribute and provide feedback. Make sure the tone of the meeting is positive and constructive. If you feel providing an open forum during the meeting may prove difficult, consider providing feedback cards, sending follow-up emails, or meeting with individual staff members.
Promote mindfulness for small gatherings, large meetings, and even conferences. At AMA Executive Conference Centers, we deliver spaces that help you incorporate wellness into your meetings in Atlanta, New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco. Click here to learn more about hosting your meeting with AMA.