Every single day of your business life can be hectic, with strict deadlines, lots of meetings and packed personal calendars. Most of the time, we all like working this way. However, if we don’t occasionally connect to ourselves, we start to function purely from our head with little heart, being less aware of how that affect the tasks at hand and the decisions we make.
Silence in meetings for more qualified decision-making
This is one of the reasons why, at TimeXtender, we think it’s important to practice a moment of silence before each and every meeting, as we have done for over four years now. These brief moments allow us to absorb all the impressions and data we get from each varied aspect of our lives. They give us all time to land, focus and reconnect with ourselves, each other and the task at hand, before we start a meeting or a presentation.
“Silent Spaces are used in normal meetings to stop time just long enough to raise our visionary minds, just enough to connect with each other and just enough to align with our authentic selves. You see, our egos thrive in our words. So, when we spend time in mutual silence, we gently push the ego aside. This creates a more honest space. A safe space. A space where we can let go of enough control to actually surprise ourselves, come up with new and more sustainable solutions.”
As we see it, each moment of silence gives us a much-needed space between stimulus and response, allowing more qualified and sustainable decision-making in meetings, at work and in our daily lives.
How to practice a moment of silence in meetings
There a many ways to use silence in meetings. At TimeXtender, we tend to take a minute before every meeting and presentation. We turn the hourglass – either a physical glass object or an animated one on our presentation screen – and spend a moment to land, focus and reconnect. We don’t have any rules about what each person should do in their time. You can have your eyes open or closed. You can just relax or focus on your breathing. It’s up to you and there’s nothing religious about it. The moment is just a tool intended to allow balance, to create focus for more effective meetings and to aid better decision-making.
Bastian Overgaard structures silent co-creation around four main elements, which all need to be fulfilled in order to achieve a successful outcome:
- The silence needs to be agreed upon and facilitated
- Participants must be aware of the silence
- The silence must be co-created and 100% respected
- The silence should be limited to a specific timeframe
The first couple of times, this might feel awkward, since being silent together (or even on our own) is so unusual for us these days. Most of us live surrounded by constant noise, from the sounds of busy streets and offices to phone calls, social media alerts, streaming music and rolling news.
Very often, people join a meeting directly after travelling through busy traffic, or as part of a busy day that involves other meetings and tasks. Being constantly on-the-go can really push some highly charged emotional buttons, so a break might be just what everyone needs. We’ve often had people comment on our moments of silence after the meeting and say, “Thank you. That was exactly what I needed.”
According to Bastian Overgaard, they appreciate them because:
- In the silence, everyone was heard
- In the silence, we felt equal
- In the silence, we were extremely focused
- In the silence, we saw details we’ve never seen before
- In the silence, we were relaxed and energised at the same time
Practicing an attentive mind to become more focused
Silence is not only about speaking less – it is also an expression of a more attentive mind. When we think or act from distraction, we gain less. The process of attention when distracted, having lost its focus gives rise to division and assumptions. (One World Academy)
If you are interested in more aspects of the power of silence in business, we’d recommend that you read this article and watch the TEDx.
Because Time Matters...