Five steps to build your concentration and focus in long meetings

Five steps to build your concentration and focus in long meetings

Do you find your mind wandering in long meetings? Could you do with a little more concentration and focus?

How would you rate yourself? How many hours can you remain focused and on the ball? How does this compare with what you are required to do to deliver top performance?
Assuming whatever level you’re at, you want to improve, here are five steps from profitable growth specialist Hilary Briggs, to help build your concentration and focus:

1) Prepare in advance. How often do you actually take the time to prepare a detailed agenda for the meeting – and think through all the points you want to raise?

2) Take notes. A process I’ve been using for the last three years and would highly recommend is SmartWisdom ( It’s described as advanced note taking – personally I’d call it mind mapping on steroids.

3) Take breaks and do remember to eat! Have breaks at least every 90 minutes. Think about food so people don’t go hungry and miss lunch. However, typical lunch menus for meetings are often the things that will kill concentration – lots of bread/sugary snacks/crisps and soft drinks. If you’re worried about the cost of having something more healthier such as salads or sushi – work out the costs of having the people there and the impact of the decisions you’re expecting them to take and put it in perspective.

4) Train your mind. What hobbies do you have – or could you have – that could be used to develop your concentration? For example, whilst playing the cello, I’m frequently playing with others for four hours with only one break – and concentrating hard as I’m often going through music for the first time. Or in Toastmasters International meetings (, I may be called upon to review a two hour meeting and need to have been paying attention throughout.

5) Build your physical stamina. I’d assert that if you’ve got good physical stamina, you stand a better chance of performing in these types of situation. So are you up for activities such as triathlons, long hikes, or dancing to boost your stamina?

Some of you might have turned pale at the thought of doing strenuous exercise, or any other type of improvement activity and have already made the easy dismissal – “I haven’t got time for that”.

From my observations, top performers do make time – it’s your call on whether it’s of sufficient importance to your business that you’re at your best for those long meetings.

About Hilary Briggs:

Hilary Briggs is a profitable growth expert and Managing Director of profitability specialists R2P Ltd. During her earlier career, Hilary was Logistics Director for Rover Group Large Cars; European Product Marketing Director for Dishwashing, Whirlpool Corporation and Managing Director of Laird Group plc’s German-based Car Body Sealing Division, with a turnover of £200m and over 4,000 employees worldwide. For more information about Hilary Briggs see

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