• joe@jhanderson.biz   
    (206) 351-5607   

  • The war room in Doctor Strangelove, Mission Control in Apollo 13—places where people gather to debate and make decisions can get pretty intense. That’s why it’s especially important to find ways to bring curious and open present-moment awareness to the conversations that happen in physical and virtual conference rooms.

    Since “sacred” means “especially loaded with power and meaning”, then it’s not a stretch at all to say that a conference room is a sacred place. Not only are important decisions are made there. In conference rooms you forge relationships, make and break alliances, and rescue (or sometimes ruin) initiatives and programs. If you have an intention to bring present-moment awareness to work, then you need to find some way to do that in conference rooms.

    Whatever meeting you’re in, there’s always a floor you can use to help you feel your feet. There’s always a ceiling you can observe with curiosity. There are whiteboards scrawled with last week’s meeting notes, windows to look through, scattered stickies and markers available to bring your attention to. And of course, there’s always your breath. I’ve been in plenty of meetings where remembering to breathe was actually an advanced challenge—but all the more important for just that reason.

    In a virtual conference room, all the same resources—floor, ceiling, feet, breath—are present.  With the potential for distraction all around you, it’s perhaps more important when you’re on the phone or a video chat to make a commitment to find your center and reclaim your focus, so the important work can be done.

    As for those meetings that are consistently pointless and waste time—what better way to gain clarity and take decisive action to make them better, than to show up and pay attention to what’s happening?

    Try It: The next time you walk in to a conference room, find something there you can use as a focal point for gathering your awareness and attention. When the conversation starts to take hold of you (boredom? irritation? a desire to take control?) let go for a moment of where your continual stream of thoughts is taking you and bring your attention back to that focal point for just a moment or two. You’ll come back to the conversation with a fresh and useful perspective.

    Image:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/bakokojp/8269957080   CC BY-ND 2.0)