Posts Tagged ‘Meetings’
It’s a common misconception that people with ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)are unable to focus. ADDers are able to focus. It’s just that we have a hard time staying focused.That’s especially true when the activity calling for our attention isn’t one that we find especially engaging. Ever struggled to pay attention to a boring lecture? Or stay involved in a business meeting that drags on? Here are six strategies to boost the ability to focus:
1 Get it in writing.
If you’re preparing to attend a meeting, lecture, workshop, or another gathering that requires close attention, ask for an advance copy of the relevant materials (meeting agenda, lecture outline, and so on).Take the materials with you to the gathering. Use them to guide your active listening and—just as important— your note-taking. Writing as you listen will help you stay focused on what the speaker is saying.
2 Get a good seat.
Where you sit is critical. You may find it easier to be attentive if you sit up front, facing the speaker. Arriving early will increase your chances of getting a seat far away from distractions, such as a noisy fan or a doorway that opens onto a busy hallway. If the event is scheduled to run for several hours, change your seat after each break. That will give you a new perspective and allow you to refocus your attention. If you will need to work independently for some time, such as in a science lab or during a lengthy exam, ask ahead of time for permission to take occasional breaks and, possibly, to change your seat. Standing up and walking around will help you stay fresh and focused.
3 Ask for a review.
As soon as possible after the class or meeting, ask your teacher or co-worker for a brief review of the main points. Explain what you think the points were, and see if he or she concurs. This is a good time to fill in any details you might have missed when your focus flagged. It’s also a good time to find out exactly what is expected of you next—assignments to turn in, succeeding steps on a project, and so on. Don’t forget to confirm deadlines.
4 Avoid fatigue.
It’s hard to pay close attention when you’re tired. Whenever possible, sign up for classes that meet early in the day (or whenever your focus is greatest). At work, you may not be able to control meeting times, but, whenever possible, pick a time that works well for you.
Feel the urge to fidget? Go right ahead. As long as you don’t disturb others, clicking a pen, playing with your hair, knitting, and so on can help you pay attention. If discretion is an issue, chewing gum, sucking on hard candy, or even sipping from a glass of water might do the trick. If there is any doubt as to what’s permissible, ask the speaker—before the lecture or meeting begins. For more ideas, see the book Fidget to Focus, by Roland Rotz, Ph.D., and Sarah Wright (iUniverse).
6 Choose your leader carefully.
Picking classes? Look for an instructor who is well-organized, flexible, and dynamic enough to hold your interest. You also want someone who announces deadlines well in advance and provides students with lots of feedback. You may not be able to choose your supervisor at work. However, you can ask for accommodations that allow you to function at your best and get the job done. Getting deadlines in writing,working in a quiet spot, and scheduling frequent short meetings to confirm that you are on track will help enormously.
Over the last thirty years or so, group think has become a term against which all employers rebel because it signifies the end of creative and independent thought. When you have a tightly-knit group of people who work together, they are likely to conform to one another’s thought processes, making it almost impossible to foster independent thought. This is something that should be avoided at all costs, so here are a few tips for avoiding group think during a business meeting.
Avoid Groupthink During a Business Meeting: Don’t Get Mad
One of the ways that you can promote groupthink is by getting angry every time an employee opposes your viewpoint. If you send the message that contradicting the boss is “bad”, the group as a whole will avoid inciting conflict. Instead, make new ideas and arguments a pleasant experience, and take every idea into consideration. Further, if one or two members of the group consistently berate another member for their ideas, take them aside and advise them that all ideas are welcome. Make the business meeting a positive atmosphere.
Avoid Groupthink During a Business Meeting: Appoint a Co-Leader
Often, one leader of a business meeting can seem overwhelming to the rest of the group. Since you have your own opinions, they may assume that there’s aren’t welcome, which promotes groupthink. To battle this problem, appoint a co-leader for your business meetings — preferably someone who is likely to disagree with you. Show your staff that new and previously unmentioned ideas are not only acceptable, but welcome.
Avoid Groupthink During a Business Meeting: Assign Discussion Leaders
You might take a page out of the educational rule book and assign discussion leaders for each meeting. For example, let’s say that there are four topics on the agenda, and there will be twelve members of the meeting. A week before the meeting takes place, assign those four topics to groups of three. This gives each group a chance to brainstorm ideas and to come up with possible solutions for the meeting. This will help battle groupthink because they won’t be asked to come up with ideas on the spot in front of all their colleagues.
Avoid Groupthink During a Business Meeting: Give Breaks
A business meeting doesn’t have to be a three-hour-long marathon; it can be broken up. You might want to schedule two meetings for the day — one before lunch and one right after. This will allow your staff to come up with new ideas, to argue those ideas, and then to take a mental and emotional breather. When you reconvene, they’ll feel fresh and ready to start anew.
Avoid Groupthink During a Business Meeting: Provide a Venue for Anonymous Feedback
One of the reasons why groupthink is so prevalent is because people are reluctant to voice a controversial idea in front of their colleagues. In order to allow everyone a voice, come up with a venue for anonymous feedback. For example, after every meeting, you can leave a closed box in a room with small slips of paper. Allow your staff to write down their reactions to the meeting as well as new ideas they weren’t comfortable with bringing up. Make sure the box cannot be opened and that there is a slit in the top for the pieces of paper.