Most of us are so busy each day, going from one thing to the next and shifting across the many roles we play (colleagues, leaders, mentors, or parents), that in the midst of it all, we may overlook the opportunities right in front of us. So, this week, I would like you to try the exercise of “simply noticing.” As you’re sitting in that next meeting or conference call, pay attention to the following:
1. How You Are Showing Up
What thoughts are running through my head?
You may be thinking to yourself:
“I really don’t want to be here.”
“These meetings are always run poorly.”
I have way too much to do, and this meeting is a waste of my time.”
“Maybe I can leave early. Will anyone care?”
How do those thoughts affect how I am participating?
Jot down what you’re doing or not doing:
I’m watching the clock, doodling, and am disengaged.
I am not giving any thought to how I can really add value and move the discussion forward. I just want this to end.
I’m planning my escape.
What’s the message I’m indirectly sending others?
Whether you realize it or not, you are always communicating something. Sometimes it can be far from what you intend. Continuing with the scenario above, here are some potential messages you may be sending:
My time is more important than yours.
What you care about doesn’t matter to me.
I am not willing to roll up my sleeves and get in the game. I just want to sit on the sidelines.
2. How Others Are Showing Up
In addition to noticing what you’re doing, paying attention to group dynamics can tell you volumes. To help you glean more information, ask yourself the following questions:
Who are the informal leaders and influencers in this group?
Who seems aligned with whom?
What does each person seem to really care about in this discussion?
What does the body language and energy level of each person tell you?
3. What It All Means
Now that you’ve had a chance to “simply notice” what’s going on around you, take the time to think about what it means – even if it’s just for five or ten minutes.
What actions do you want to take as a result of your observations?
In your next meeting, how do you want to show up instead?
What can you do to reinforce what you want others to know about you and the value you bring?
How can you maximize the opportunities in that next meeting, even if you do consider it a waste of your time?
This week, I challenge you to simply notice what’s going on around you, even if it’s in just one meeting, and identify an action step you would like to take. You may be surprised at how quickly it changes your perspective. Remember that small steps can lead to big results.
© 2012 Neena Newberry | All rights reserved.