Have you ever noticed how the weather can change indoors? Can it do that, you ask? Yes! It can, and it does. Think of how the atmosphere can change when someone important walks into a room? You can sense the change, can't you? You also experience a different atmosphere in a room when you are alone, with another person, or with a group.
The very definition of weather is "the state of the atmosphere." While this idea about "indoor weather" may be new to you, let's look at it and how it affects all of us.
It's in the atmosphere
How much do you know about the weather? You may be a meteorologist or know a great deal about the weather, but this discussion requires no such degree or education.
The type of weather we will look at does not involve the air temperature, humidity, moisture, wind patterns, or any of the typical atmospheric conditions of normal weather. Yet the atmosphere has everything to do with it!
The weather we are discussing is observable, and while you have experienced it many times, you may not have thought of it as the weather. Like outdoor weather, indoor weather depends on the atmosphere. Let's look at the definition of atmosphere in the Oxford Languages dictionary.
1. "The envelope of gases surrounding the earth or another planet. The air in any particular place. A unit of pressure equal to mean atmospheric pressure at sea level, 101,325 pascals."
2. "The pervading tone or mood of a place, situation, or work of art."
As the indoor atmosphere changes, the indoor weather is affected. You may not have realized it until now, but indoor weather correlates to our surroundings, who we are around, our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
For example, the weather where I am sitting typing today is relatively calm and pleasant. I have no worries or concerns at the present moment. I feel great, and with the beautiful view of the lake outside the window, how could the indoor weather be anything but nice?
What's the Weather Like?
One of the first things a professional team coach or meeting facilitator learns is how to tell the weather. This weather exists whenever two or more people are together and is easy to gauge at any moment in time.
Think about the last meeting you attended. What comes to mind about the atmosphere of the room? Another way you could ask this is what was the emotional field? For our purposes, consider the terms atmosphere, weather, and emotional field as synonymous.
Was it heavy, light, tense, playful, pensive, cautious, or exciting? Could you sense anger, fear, contempt, anxiety, curiosity, skepticism, joy, friendliness, or amusement? What was the energy level in the room – low, mild, normal, or high? What was the emotional temperature? Was the room comfortable, warm, hot, sweltering, boiling, chilly, cold, or freezing?
If none of these descriptions fit, describe the atmosphere in your own words.
The weather report of a meeting I was in recently could be described as warm and friendly, upbeat, with a sense of peace and calm, while also being rather exciting. It felt like perfect weather. I was not the only one to see it that way, as when I named what I thought the atmosphere was, everyone else felt the same. It was a good meeting.
At times I have been in meetings where you could feel the heaviness in the room, the coldness, the bitterness, the competition, the fear, the anger. I would describe some of these meetings as stormy and uncomfortable! The outcomes were not always that great.
What about the weather when you were with someone you care about deeply, say your spouse. Think about the last time you were together. When my wife and I had coffee this morning, the emotional field or weather in the room was almost perfect. I felt a deep sense of peace, caring, and love. Although it was hot outside, the weather we enjoyed indoors could not have been better.
Now think of a time when the weather was not so good. This could have been when you argued with your spouse or someone significant in your life. How was the weather? I often find it can be bad and stormy, with a strong wind of discontent. I'm sure it was the same for the other person as these things are usually experienced by each person similarly.
Forecasting and Influencing the Weather
Let's consider an upcoming meeting you plan to attend with one or more people. Using what you have just learned about the weather, what is your forecast for the weather during this meeting? Consider that you will contribute to or create the weather by what you bring into the meeting – your attitude, demeanor, expectations, emotions, etc. Can you influence its weather? You bet, especially if it is a smaller group. The fewer people involved, the greater your influence on the atmosphere, while your impact on a much larger system may be negligible.
Now that you know a little about telling the weather, what do you want to do with it?
Considering most meetings are between two or only a few people, you greatly influence the weather and, therefore, the outcome. Why not use this new understanding of the weather to create better, more enjoyable, and more productive meetings?
Can you imagine what it would be like to control the weather outdoors? While that would be difficult, you can see how easy it is to influence the other type of weather, being around other people.
As you continue paying attention to the weather when alone or with others, you will build your awareness. Before long, you will become an expert at predicting and possibly changing and controlling the weather. Imagine the power in that! Become a positive influence on the weather wherever you go and with those you are around.
Why not start taking control of the weather in your life and with every relationship immediately? You can do it if you want!