I know how easy it is for my mind to get distracted with all sorts of irrelevant mental chatter, even in an important gathering. Now, imagine a room of people with minds similar to mine. It’s called your meeting. It could be a team briefing you are conducting or a departmental review or a community update, to name a few. Regardless of how it may appear, everyone’s mind is wandering as much as mine is when I an a participant.
It can’t be helped
Talking about thinking is not something folks do very much. We haven’t known how, so we ignore it, much to our loss. You will hear me talk a lot about carefully choosing questions to focus your mind and then putting them to work producing answers and solutions for you even when you are off doing something else. That’s because your mind can’t help but answer questions it is given.
Since the individual mind of everyone in your meeting is busy answering questions from their personal default question caches, you as the leader have a choice: Talk louder, use a more colorful power point presentation or organize your meeting around a few pertinent questions. If you make sure the environment of the meeting is obviously about questions, you cannot help but capture the attention of the wandering minds.
What you can do for your next meeting
- State the purpose of the meeting in terms of answering a few well thought out questions, usually no more than three. This way, when the subject begins to drift, you can refocus it by calling attention to the question at hand. This also ensures every mind in the room is automatically generating answers to questions of interest to you as a manager.
- Stating the purpose of a meeting in terms of questions provides everyone with built-in metrics to see how well the purpose of the meeting was accomplished. It also provides you with the content of the follow-up questions for further meetings.
- Turn you team onto the Segue as a powerful tool for increasing teamwork and for getting more out of the experience of accomplishing a common goal with their partners.
I hope this has been helpful.