How do you start a meeting?
I have been thinking a lot about how I show up in groups and meetings lately. I often come into a space with baggage from the day/life that was happening before or will be happening later. I know I am not the only one either. Sometimes the meeting/group will start with a greeting and a rundown of the agenda and then introductions of participants. This is helpful for me to get my head in the game. Some will set an intention before the meeting starts or ask that the participants set an intention individually/mentally. This is helpful for me to get my heart in the game. These are not the same things but they also aren't both going to necessarily lead to the most successful meeting.
When you take a moment to speak about the goal of a meeting, it usually sets the task of action out in front for everyone to do. When we take a moment to share an intention of how we want to show up in this space for this time, it sets the tone for how we want to be, not necessarily do. Both are not always necessary but I'd love to challenge you to think back to meeting where a discussion got heated or disagreements took place. Maybe disrespectful things were said. Maybe attitudes and beliefs were discovered that result in questioning if you or others belong with this group. Not all of this can be prevented but what if we took just a minute to settle in with ourselves and each other before we truly jump into a meeting.
What if we started with a short intentional breathing activity to tune in to ourselves, discover our current state, and release anything that will not serve us in this current space. So often it's not the topic at hand that leads to outbursts but the holding onto of baggage that has us in a closed off state. This powerful practice helps me show up in each space as my best self with more compassion and more flexibility in my thinking. It gives me the space to open up and listen and learn in a way that is conducive to a successful meeting. Imagine, if everyone was showing up in this way! Are you willing to give it a try? Would you suggest or request that your next meeting start this way? It's simple, take a slow deep breath, let your eyes close and answer the following questions: How am I feeling right now? Will this feeling/state serve me in this space? How can I get myself to a state that will serve me in this space?
Maybe this will require a quick walk around the room, a short journal or note being made, a snack or refreshment enjoyed. These are all things that could help change our state. There are many others but these are quick and easy ways of releasing depleting energy so that you can bring your best self to the space you're in. If everyone shows up in this way, we can set forth on the task of doing with compassion and flexibility. Here's to successful meetings!