Meetings: The Mindful Minute

These days, it’s not such a rarity to attend a meeting where someone says ‘before we get into this meeting, let’s spend a mindful minute’. If you have ever participated in this, you know how amazing one quick minute can be to bring everyone into full presence and ready to focus on the meeting’s purpose.

Having people’s quality attention in a meeting results in a much more productive and focused meeting.

But who leads this?
Anyone can lead this, although generally it is the person chairing the meeting or someone else who’s been asked to lead this practice.

How do you even broach such a subject?
The best way to try this out with an audience who hasn’t done this before is to say something like this:

“I’ve been part of meetings where we started with just a quick mindful moment of silence to get our attention focused and ready for the meeting. And this is a great stress reliever too! It’s quick and easy, and this is not a religious practice. Are you all game to give this a try?”

Chances are high that people will say Yes or at least stay neutral and let you do it!

How to lead a mindful minute meeting opener

  1. Get their agreement to do this using ideas from the introduction outlined above.
  2. Ask them to gently close their eyes if they are comfortable doing so, or just have a soft gaze downwards.
  3. Say “Let’s just take a moment to relax, and to fully arrive. Take a few deep, relaxed slow breaths. Let’s give ourselves permission to let go of our busy day and become present in the room together.” You can choose words that fit with your style. The core idea here is just to give people a mindful break so they can become fully present and be ready to give the meeting their quality attention.
  4. Then stay silent for a bit to give them time to ‘be’.
  5. Say “OK, you can now slowly open our eyes when you’re ready.”
  6. You may want to make a comment, such as “I hope that was a welcome little break and you feel our presence in the room, ready to start our meeting!”

99% of the time, this is very successful and welcomed by people to do this again and again. The most common comment you will probably hear is “can we do that for the whole meeting?”

Wendy Quan provides mindfulness meditation facilitator training and certification online courses which are available to CPHR BC & Yukon members at a preferred rate. Find out more. Did you miss Wendy’s How HR Can Start a Great Workplace Mindfulness Practice webinar in June? Watch it online–free for for CPHR BC & Yukon members. The Mindfulness for Busy HR Professionals session is also available.

Wendy Quan, founder of The Calm Monkey, is an industry leader, helping organizations implement mindfulness meditation programs and combining change management techniques to create personal and organizational change resiliency. She trains meditators to become workplace facilitators.


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