The Creation of Micro-Moments of Meaning

In last week’s article, ‘What is ‘Relatableness and why is there a red squiggly line underneath it?’, I discuss the power of creating positive interactions in an organization. Relatableness is a philosophy or way of thinking when an individual has the desire, drive, or even enjoyment in creating micro-moments on meaning. And that phrase, micro-moments of meaning, is the focus of this article.

Micro-moments of meaning are those seemingly inconsequential interactions with a colleague or a stranger that have a positive impact on a relationship. These moments can occur in a hallway, at lunch, walking down the street, or in any number of different environments. I do encourage you to keep micro-moments in the bathroom to a minimum. It can get awkward fast!!!!!!!

Engaging in micro-moments has a cumulative impact on an individual and to a greater extent, the organization…eventually. The first time a micro-moment occurs, or even the second time, you may not see a net positive impact or change in behavior. However, like any living breathing organism, the net result of micro-moments over a period of time is the spread of a positive and caring culture. Everyone becomes invested and the organization.

The idea of micro-moments of meaning was born out of the podcast Executives After Hours where 140 executives were interviewed for the book, The Crucible’s Gift: 5 Lessons from Authentic Leaders Who Thrive in Adversity. What I found is that leaders who practiced genuine micro-moments of meaning moved mountains and those impacted by the moments did the same.

SOME SPECIAL INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING MICRO-MOMENTS OF MEANING

The first ingredient is relevance. Relevance comes from understanding where the other person is and meeting them where they are on their journey. Do they have kids, a pet, love to go on long walks? Think biting their fingernails is cool??? Maybe not the last one. Knowing a little about someone else is fuel to have a relevant conversation. Be careful and look for cues, as some people are initially uncomfortable with sharing and may want lighter more surface conversation to start. But stay with it, they will open up.

The second ingredient is one-part purpose and one-part presence. The firs-part focuses the why you are engaging. The second part focuses on listening with intent and being in the moment. Thus, clearing your mind and waiting to speak is essential. When the receiver of these micro-moments feels your genuine compassionate presence, they will engage with purpose and presence also. It allows for the art of judgment to be washed away.

The final ingredient is a smile. It is my rule of thumb to end a conversation on a high note and walks away putting a smile on the other person’s face. This is especially true for initial interactions. Not only does it feel good, but it creates a chemical reaction in the brain and a mental marker that says, “this was a great interaction, and I would like more of these.”

Over time, and practiced with intent, micro-moments go from feeling strange and uncomfortable to impactful and pleasant. Go out this week and try to create your micro-moments of meaning by being relevant, purposeful, present, and when possible, leave on a smile.

James Kelley, PhD.