We all attend more meetings than we would like. Some are more effective than others. Many are status updates or reporting forums while others are brainstorming or idea-generation sessions. It is rare, however, to find a team meeting that has clear objectives and purposeful content and that also operates in a way that strengthens the team and helps them to coalesce around goals.
I wonder – why can’t my workplace meetings feel more like my yoga class?
I’ve been paying attention to how my yoga instructor conducts her classes. Her classes are popular so everyone arrives early and is ready when she starts. She always begins by centering the group – important as most folks come to class directly from their busy work-days and welcome the opportunity to shift focus. She sets the tone by inviting us to join in on a group “om”, or she might share a meaningful quote or simply ask us to be still and focus on our breathing for a minute or two. She then proceeds to guide us through a variety of movements and poses. She is always scanning the room and making suggested adjustments – “be sure your hips are aligned, relax your shoulders, stretch your neck”, etc. Her comments might be prompted by one individual but she shares it globally and makes each of us feel the suggestion is meant just for us. I see everyone simultaneously making the same modification. She will praise someone and she will quietly guide another but creates an environment where everyone feels part of the whole. It’s a challenging class and she pushes us but always provides options on how to execute. At the end we circle back to the communal “om” before we go on our way.
What yogi practices can you adapt to make your meetings more meaningful and inclusive?
- Center the Team – take a moment to welcome, share a brief but pertinent anecdote, take a breath and share the meeting’s intention.
- Provide transitions from one topic to another – make connections between ideas and find synergies in projects.
- Encourage course-correction with global comments that apply to all.
- Acknowledge what’s hard and challenging but inspire anyway.
- Be hands-on when it is needed
- Push the team to do more than what they may believe is possible
- Be clear about the end goal but provide options on how to execute
- Come full circle at the end with a final call to action.
Your workplace meetings don’t have to include down dogs or tree poses but could benefit from creating an environment that one finds in the yoga studio. Yoga cultivates the ways you can maintain a balanced attitude and perspective in the day-to-day while building your skills and fostering a connection with others. Consider conducting your next team meeting like a yogi.