Have you ever sat in an important meeting and found that the other participants and your own brain are so full of negative emotions and conflicting thoughts that it's almost impossible to achieve anything useful? Would you like to develop your ability to focus, decrease anxiety and boost your performance in meetings? Don't you envy those who can? Have you ever wondered how some people manage to get what they want out of a difficult confrontation? The answer may come as a surprise.
Steve Jobs did it. Rupert Murdoch, Bill Ford and a host of other business moguls do it. They all set time aside to meditate. Eastern Spiritual gurus could teach the 21st century business operator a thing or two about how to master a difficult situation. Next time you are facing a challenging meeting, prepare yourself for optimum performance by taking a few minutes to meditate.
Twenty years ago most entrepreneurs and professionals would have scoffed at the idea of a CEO who wanted time alone to meditate before a difficult confrontation. It seems counterintuitive to take "time out" from all the paperwork, pre-meeting briefings and admin on the crunch day of the meeting.
Here's an analogy to help explain why taking a few minutes to quietly reach inside yourself before an important meeting can make all the difference to your performance in the meeting. Imagine you are reaching out to get something down from a high shelf. You cannot quite reach it. The harder you try the more frustrated and ineffective you become. But if you stop trying and take a moment to relax your muscles you often find that on the next attempt you can reach that high shelf with ease. See where we're going with this one?
Some Quick Meditations for You to Try
Meditations don't need to be in any way spiritual or religious. If you want something completely secular, try downloading Mark William's "Breathing Space Meditation" onto your i-phone. This lasts for 4 minutes and 19 seconds. Or you could try www.1giantmind.org for a range of meditations to suit every occasion.
To benefit fully from meditation and the art of living mindfully, you might want to make a daily habit of setting time aside to meditate. Try building time into your early morning schedule to meditate for at least 30 minutes. Regular meditators often find their sleep improves, anxiety decreases and their overall performance throughout the day receives a boost. If you meditate regularly you may also find that they learn to be more empathic, more able to cope with sudden conflicts and changes and that your overall health improves.
Preparing for the Difficult Meeting
If you practice regular meditation, then just a few minutes' meditation immediately before the meeting will help you to draw upon your inner strengths. If you can find a quiet place where you won't be disturbed sit upright in a chair and close your eyes. Start to think about your breathing. Don't change the way you breathe. Just pay full attention to the sensation of each breath. As your mind wanders, bring it gently back to the breath. This exercise is not about relaxing (although it may help you to relax!). It's about training your mind to focus on one thing - free from distractions.