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Staying Focused in a meeting…

Updated: Feb 27

I have always felt uneasy whenever a meeting was scheduled. I knew that attending a meeting would be a challenge for me. Although I tried my best to remain attentive and focused, I often felt isolated in my struggle. Unless the topic of the meeting was interesting to me, I found myself drifting away.

With all the noise going on in my head, listening to someone on the outside is always difficult for me.

My brain seems to have a mind of its own and decides to take a break, leaving me feeling like it's taken a vacation without me. It jumps out of my head, waves goodbye, and strolls off, leaving me lost and disconnected.

The act of paying attention was excruciating. All I could think of was how I couldn’t wait for the meeting to be over and to be released from this torture. I would swivel in my seat, cross and uncross my legs, clear my throat, anything to carry me through.

Here are some tips on how I stay focused that may be helpful to you as well.

Be prepared

Please ensure that you are well-prepared for the upcoming meeting. Be sure to have a clear understanding of the purpose and agenda of the meeting. Review any important information or documents that may be relevant to the meeting. Avoid any potential embarrassment by being caught off guard and responding with "I have no idea" if someone asks you about the meeting agenda.

EAT something

Having a snack works wonders for me. I keep a jar of mixed nuts on my desk to give me the energy boost I need to stay alert and focused.

Meet Remotely

I prefer to communicate with my clients over the phone or through email and messaging. I have had many clients whom I have never met in person, but I have been able to handle everything remotely. However, there are times when I cannot rely on remote communication.

Bring a notebook

Writing things down not only helps to record the information for later but also engages your brain and prevents it from wandering off. Taking notes during a meeting is an excellent way to appear attentive and connected. It is completely acceptable to doodle while taking notes, as these seemingly meaningless drawings can help you to remember the discussion later on.

I hope these few simple suggestions can help you with your next meeting. Even when I'm gathered with a group of friends and we're all talking sometimes I will be drawing on my iPad. When they ask me if I'm engaged in the conversation, I always say "absolutely." And then pointing to my iPad, I say, "this is my knitting."

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