‘Starve your distraction – feed your focus’ (Tony Robbins)
Many of us experience difficulties in focusing, the reason being that there are too many things we have to think and worry about. Our mind is constantly overcrowded with work and/or personal life related matters. That can become a problem when we’re rushing to a meeting but our mind is busy with what we still need to do that day, the mails we have to reply, the calls we have to make, the presentations for the following week etc. So what to do when the feeling of all tasks weighs heavy on our shoulders and we just don’t seem to be able to get in the moment and to concentrate on the subject at hand? Some companies have established a routine of mindfulness exercises at the beginning of an important meeting, to help everyone in the room to be in the moment.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism; it’s a psychological process that brings the mind to focus on what is happening in the present moment. Research shows that practising mindfulness has a positive impact on well-being, sparks creativity, reduces stress and improves a sense of self, of how we can impact our actions and reactions. Make the most of the time you have by starting the next meeting with a few fun, quick and easy mindfulness exercises.
Check the status of your team in the room: Instead of jumping right into the matter, ask participants to take a few minutes and free their minds from imminent tasks. So, if someone has to make an urgent call, let that happen, if someone has to add something to his/her to-do list, let him or her write that down.
1. Ask participants to notice something around them
To test if the people are in the room, ask them choose a certain detail, eg the new suit of a colleague, the colour of the wall, the new setting of the room, a pen. Let them focus on the details of their chosen object for a few minutes. It will focus their attention on being in that place right now.
2. Play a song
Ask the team to close their eyes and to detect what instruments are played, or the different voice tones and ranges. Even if the song is not in their liking, they will be so focused, that they will let go of their initial prejudice. This is a way to let go of preconceptions and to listen more openly to what everyone has to say.
3. The famous raisin exercise
In mindfulness courses the raisin exercise is a must. Pass a raisin to all participants. Ask them to pretend they have never seen a raisin in their life. Now ask them to concentrate and describe the following
- How does it look like?
- How does it feel to touch it?
- How does it smell?
- How does it taste?
This is a simple but powerful way of bringing people’s minds to be present, especially its easiness will be a surprise! Would it not be interesting to give it a go and try it the next time?
If you want to find out more about mindfulness exercises, there are many books and materials readily available on the internet. You may also ask your venue providers if they can recommend someone for your next meeting! At HUONE, the team will be happy to assist you in finding just the right person, taking away the additional burden of looking for someone.