From time to time, participants in a group may seem off-center or imbalanced. Too much chatter or arguing or confusion can create such a condition in an individual or the group as a whole. Circumstances that have no direct connection with the current group gathering can still greatly impact the balance and effectiveness of a group.

Purpose of Centering

A strategy called "centering" can assist a group in staying balanced. Centering focuses the energy so that it is used more efficiently. One of the simplest centering techniques is to become conscious of breathing. When we focus on our breathing, we turn the attention inward, the direction of our center.

Centering is especially effective at the beginning of a meeting because it sets the stage for balance and assists in tapping into the group's intention and deep source of energy. Of course, anytime the group seems to be off balance is the perfect time to suggest centering. You can use any of the following approaches whenever you need to be centered during your meeting.

Here are a few ways to talk about incorporating centering into your meetings. You may feel you have more influence when you are in an official leadership role. However, these approaches or comments can be just as effective and sometimes even more effective when introduced by a group member.

Some Things To Say

* "Before we begin today's meeting, let's take a few deep breaths and relax. Then we can all start feeling refreshed."

* "Let's take a few moments in silence to consider the topic(s) on our agenda."

* "I know you all have a lot to say about this subject. Before we start talking, though, let's just have some quiet time."

* "The intention each of us has established for this meeting is so important. Please take a few moments to connect with your own intention."

* "I want to start our meeting in a relaxed and peaceful way. Here is some calming music, so just sit back and relax for a few minutes."

* "I need a little time to explore what I really think (feel) about this. Can we just sit for a moment with our own thoughts (feelings)?"

* "I can tell that many of you are burning to say something about this. Before we start speaking, let's take a few minutes to write down some of our ideas. After writing for three minutes, I'm going to suggest that you identify the most important idea you have on your list. Then we'll talk."

* "I know we've all come today from many different directions and responsibilities. Let's take time to be fully present and let go of all the other stuff. Just relax and close your eyes for a few moments."

* "This topic is important and I want to be certain that we don't just stay on the surface. So let's take a little time to open to the deeper issues silently. I'll let you know when it's time for discussion."

* "I have a video to start off today's meeting. It has beautiful nature photography to help us feel in greater harmony."

Author's Bio: 

Jeanie Marshall is a mentor, success coach, group facilitator, organizational development consultant, personal development consultant, and a writer. She has an M.S. in Human Resource Development and over 20 years of active involvement in the human potential movement. She facilitates workshops and private consultations throughout the world, appears as a guest on television and radio shows, has produced more than fifty guided visualization meditations on audio cassette tapes, and for six years produced and hosted a local television show, "Return to Center."