Can meditation create a better meeting experience? Yes

Convene magazine, June 2011The June 2011 issue of Convene magazine (published by PCMA, the Professional Convention Management Association) contains a fascinating article by Barbara Palmer about a new recognition of the benefits of even brief mindfulness/attention exercises for attaining better results from meetings and conferences: “It was the silence heard ’round the meetings world.  In April, the Kyoto Convention Bureau (KCB) reported that attendees who took part in ten minutes of meditation exercises at the beginning of meeting sessions improved their learning by an average of 12.5%.  Industry blogs and newsletters lit up with the results, which James Kent, KCB’s international marketing coordinator, called ‘simply astonishing.’  But they came as no surprise to organizations that already integrate meditation and other principles of mindfulness into their meetings.  ‘I can’t think of any meeting that wouldn’t be improved by meditation,’  said Mary Pearl, Ph.D., CEO of the Garrison Institute….  The institute’s conferences attract diverse audiences, from scientists to teachers to real estate developers — all of whom have different vocabularies and different frames of reference.  A reflective environment can help promote a kind of ‘meeting of the minds,’ Pearl said, encouraging participants to be open to other ways of approaching ideas.  ‘It produces a very different outcome,’ she said.  ‘Once people experience it, they wonder, ‘Why are meetings held any other way?”” Read the article.

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