3 Strategies for Mindful Meetings
When I first became a nominated supervisor at twenty-one, I had absolutely no idea how to lead a team meeting. How could I? I’d been thrown in the deep end quite suddenly and could really only draw from the experience I’d had on the other side of the meeting. I tried my best to make our meetings as productive, engaging and inspiring as they could be and I think that for the most part, I succeeded.
But now, with the benefit of time and new knowledge, experiences and awareness, I realise just how much more I could have been doing to support the wellbeing of my team. As Maya Angelou says:
When you know better, you do better.
So, in the spirit of that, here are three simple strategies:
1. Set the scene
No - it doesn't need to be all candlelight and soft music, this isn't a date on The Bachelor! But, we can still put some effort into creating a space for connection. Comfortable seating or cushions (we are not designed to sit in child sized chairs), a bunch of natives from the garden in a jar, a few yummy snacks and some essential oils in the diffuser are all really easy ways to create a calm vibe in your service. If the weather is nice, why not venture outdoors?
2. Set an intention
What is the purpose of your meeting? This is more than just having an agenda. An agenda will step us through what we need to talk about, while an intention will support us to stay focus and work towards a shared outcome. For example, your intention might be to make decisions that reflect an understanding of various perspectives. When the conversation strays or someone becomes particularly stubborn about an idea or issue, referring back to the intention can help to get things back on track.
3. Set the distractions aside
We really want our team to be present, and as such, we need to be present ourselves. Now, when I was directing, mobile phones were really only used for the occasional call or text - they weren't the all encompassing devices that they are now (I feel so much like my grandparents when I type that...
in my day). While devices offer no distraction to some people, others may find the lure of a new foodie photo on Instagram just too tempting. I'm not suggesting that you need a hard and fast "no phones" rule at your meetings - after all, we are all grown ups! But, you may want to think about the example that you set, and have an open conversation with your team about limiting distractions. You may only get an hour or so together each month - you want that time to be productive, engaging and inspiring, not interrupted by the buzzing and beeping of 15 phones.
I hope that these ideas really help you to make your team meetings more mindful, more intentional and more purposeful.