How To Be More Focused In Meetings
For a lot of us, meetings can be a bit of a pain point. Of course we know that they are relevant, and they do provide a great space to make moves towards project success, but sometimes they can be a bit slow. If you have ever found yourself completely zoning out in a meeting, you are absolutely not alone. So many people struggle with this, which is why we wanted to offer up a few key tips to stay more focused and engaged in meetings—even the boring ones!
Mute Your Notifications
Though most of us are used to being constantly connected, sometimes we fail to see what a problem it can be. You might not be the person who actively responds to notifications or reads emails in a meeting, but if you’re still online, the temptation is likely still there. If you really want to stay focused in a meeting, turn on do not disturb on your devices. No texts, no calls, and no emails means that you can remain fully focused and engaged.
Take Good Notes
Note-taking is an excellent way to remain more present and stay engaged. It is also great for helping you to focus and think more deeply about meeting content in the moment, which will make you a more active participant. You don’t need to jot down everything that is said, but try to take down key points and make a note of who made them. This will help you to stay committed to the meeting and might just help you out later when the information becomes relevant. Overall, it is a good way to keep your mind focused on the meeting instead of letting it wander.
Focus On Who Is Talking
Another excellent way to stay focused in a meeting is to focus on who is speaking from one moment to the next. By committing to their presence and listening to what they have to say, you will find it easier to stay closer to the meeting material and will feel more encouraged to remain engaged. When you focus on the speaker, chances are they will notice you too. This will make it easier for you to listen and remain completely in the moment, making it more like a conversation.
Participation is a very effective way to ensure that you stay completely engaged. Avoid being one of the people who just remains silent throughout the meeting. This is what makes it easy to zone out during crucial meeting times. Instead, do your best to actively participate. Participation doesn’t just mean speaking out. It means actively listening and paying attention. Even something as simple as keeping eye contact and using your body language to communicate can help.
Use Fidget Toys
For those who really just can’t sit still in meetings, fidget toys can be a lot of help. These devices come in all shapes and sizes and make it easy to expel your extra energy and remain on task instead of letting your mind wander. You will not believe how effective using these devices can be. They are an excellent way to not only stay focused, but can also help you to be more creative too. Something about allowing your body to be passively stimulated provides your body with a lot of calm when you are in a seated environment. If you are one of the people who are always messing with pens or shifting in their seat, this can really help.
Make Sure You’re Caffeinated
Sometimes you just need to rely on the treasured employee resource: caffeine. This is not something that works for everyone, but for many, it is a great way to bring your best self into a meeting. Instead of just falling asleep at the table while everyone talks, grab a cup of coffee or some tea to ensure that you are wide awake and ready to engage with the other attendees. You won’t want to overdo this one, but you might be pretty amazed to see how fast you go from sluggish and detached to completely engaged and awake.
Make A Meeting Goal
Having a goal in mind when you join a meeting can be incredibly helpful for keeping you engaged. This will give you something clear and direct to focus on, which will help you to stay present to avoid missing your goal. Something as simple as finding out who is handling a task or even committing to making two points within the meeting can help you to be a more active participant across the board. Choose a meeting goal that works for you and watch how easy it becomes to stay focused. It can be big or small, but no matter what, it should help you to stay focused throughout the duration of the meeting.
Write Down Relevant Questions
Questions can help so much when you are trying to remain present in the moment. It is a way to tell your brain that the information in front of you matters and will need to be considered. You don’t have to ask these questions afterwards or during the meeting if you don’t want to, but you might find they are incredibly relevant and should be addressed. Questioning what department will be focusing on a certain task or writing down an acronym to look up later can go a long way in keeping you committed to the meeting.
Meetings can be boring from time to time, but they can be infinitely more productive when everyone is engaged. The majority of us have felt the struggle of trying to stay awake through a meeting that just didn’t have the right kind of energy. By being present in a meeting, you can help drive conversation, find results, and become one of the people who carries the meeting forward. If nothing else, you will find a way to ensure that you don’t miss out on any important talking points, and that is good too!