Why I Need Air in Meetings

Hand drawn persons face with squiggles coming out to represent talking

Space. I must say to my children
often, “please give me some space” because now my 5 year old is saying it. When
she said, I say, “of course!” because I know how I need space. I’m not an
overly touch-feely person so I just keep a little bit of time where I’m not constantly
being mauled by my one of three children. Love them, but I need some space.

When I’m in meetings, graphic facilitating
I need physical space. I’m typically a self-contained machine. I bring
everything I need with me, event my own stand up wall system.  The size I work within (typically) is 4 feet by
8 feet. Large, huh? It allows people to really see their ideas come to life. There’s
something magical about the scale and it being hand-drawn in real time. The
world we live in isn’t tangible. Our calendars, notes, everything on a screen. We
can’t really manipulate our ideas this way. This is one reason why I switched
to a physical day-planner and got away from using my online calendar. I’m using
a combination these days, but need to physically see my ideas and information
to feel more deeply connected to them.

But explaining all that wasn’t really intention for this post.

I need space. I need air in meetings. What I mean is, if I’m given an opportunity to participate in creating guidelines for a gathering or meeting with a group I will ask that please take pauses before they speak. This allows others, like myself, to feel like there is an opportunity for me to talk. I will not interrupt or jump in and talk over someone to get my idea out there or share an opinion. I need a break in conversation to feel comfortable sharing. If you think about it, you know there are people in your meetings where they don’t say a whole lot. There is a strong likelihood that if the discussions allowed for a little extra air, space, breathing in them, maybe that’s all they need in order to speak up and share.

Next time you are in a meeting, take a breather. Be conscious of speaking over one another and allow for small uncomfortable spaces in conversation to allow new voices to emerge.

Until next time!

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