Recently, I had a meeting with someone I hadn’t done business with before. As usual, this is how it went…
ME: We always like to start our meetings with a minute of silence. Is that ok with you?
OTHER: Umm, you mean right now? (aka “Are you f**king serious?”)
ME: Yeah, it’s a chance for us to start the meeting refreshed and present. You can close your eyes, focus on your breath. Whatever you want.
OTHER: Ok then.
A minute or so passes…
ME: Whenever you’re ready, we can start.
OTHER: Geez, that felt so good! I feel like I’ve arrived. Thank you so much. (aka, “I feel like a human being again!”)
ME: Me too. I really enjoy pausing like that.
On with normal agenda items…
What’s so powerful about “mindful meetings” is that you can practice mindfulness every time you have a meeting. That means, if you have 5 meetings a day, then you get to spend at least 5 minutes in silence with other colleagues every day. In a week, that’s 25 minutes and in a year that’s over 20 hours in silence together!
But you might be asking what’s the point? Well, by regularly stopping for a minute of silence, we create the space to connect with our feelings and for something fresh to arise. Over time this cumulatively changes the rhythm for how we work, how we treat one another and the quality of our decision making.
This week I’m issuing a challenge! Next time you go into a meeting, try asking “Can we start with a moment of silence? It’s a chance for us to start refreshed and present.”
This might feel risky, but once people get over the “weirdness” of silence, we can begin taking micro-steps towards creating a workplace that is more emotionally aware, innovative and compassionate.
Now it’s your chance to be the leader the world needs now – 1 minute at a time.
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