4 Tips to Running Mindful Meetings
Mindfulness, a term that seems to be everywhere these days: mindful meditation, mindful seminars, mindful meetings. In it’s simplest terms, mindfulness means presence of heart. That’s the definition given to it by Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. He should know; after all, he launched his program nearly 40 years ago at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Since then, thousands of studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness.
Mindfulness also means staying grounded in the present moment, aware of, and accepting our thoughts and feelings without judgment, instead of reading the past or projecting into the future. With roots in Buddhist meditation, a version of mindfulness has become increasing popular in recent years. In fact, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the popularity of meditation increased more than three times in just five years with regular yoga practice steadily rising annually as well.
The desire for mindful meetings has increased in recent years as well. To help meeting planners answer that desire, we’ve listed the following four ideas.
Add the benefits of mindfulness to any meeting
- Get Centered – It’s not unusual for attendees to arrive to meetings exhausted, stressed and on overload. One way to help alleviate that fatigue and mental anguish is to hold a quick mindfulness activity prior to the event. Consider adding a short yoga session or deep breathing exercise at the beginning of your meeting. Add sprigs of lavender to table settings, or for an instant calm, spray the room with lavender mist. There’s nothing like a soothing scent and a few deep breaths to release stress and ground people in the present moment.
- Hit Pause – Try starting your event later in the morning to give attendees plenty of time to ease into their day, workout, or even relax at the spa before the agenda begins. Energy flows where focus goes, so when you start to see people looking around the room, wiggling in chairs and checking their phones, that’s your cue to hit pause. Break the meeting monotony and refresh that focus with lighting, music, stretching and breathing. Consider doing a short restorative meditation session to bring focus back to the present moment.
Pulling local inspiration for mindful meetings
- Turn to your Destination – Helping an active mind or even a sluggish mind focus and become more productive can be achieved simply by stepping outside the traditional four-wall meeting space. Let your destination be the inspiration for a mindful meeting by choosing local off-site venues. This can easily be accomplished in Newport Beach, CA where there are numerous unique venues in which to hold your meeting. Planners can choose from historic sites such as a waterfront pavilion made popular during Hollywood’s Golden Era, or a spectacular beachfront location now protected by the state of California. Groups desiring to be on the water can do so aboard one of Newport’s many luxury yachts. Those wishing to be at the water’s edge may enjoy a harbor front venue or an meeting on the beach itself.
- Take to the Water – According to Jillian Pransky, a restorative yoga instructor and author, “Water is known for purification and transformation. It helps us to be more malleable and adaptable, making it a smart element to blend into mindful meetings when possible.” It’s only natural to incorporate the element of water into your meetings when in Newport Beach, CA, as this beachside community boasts the largest pleasure craft harbor on the west coast. Groups can partake in stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, outrigger canoeing and sailing throughout the stunning, estate lined harbor. If it’s land based activities your group prefers, consider team building activities beachside or opt for biking or hiking coastal bluffs. Whether it’s the calming sound of waves gentle lapping against the shore or the serene waters of Newport’s Upper Back Bay Estuary, your group will have plenty of places to stop, breathe and enjoy the healing power of nature.
Looking for a great space to hold a mindful meeting? Contact the staff at Visit Newport Beach, the destination marketing organization for Newport Beach, CA. Visit Newport Beach opens the doors to this Pacific paradise with destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and valuable resources.