Going slow to go fast is a facilitation technique. It means to take time with the introductions, the ground rules, the agenda, the goals of the meeting and go over logistics. Taking time to go over these things almost guarantees that the focus of the meeting will go more smoothly and quickly because everyone is starting on the same page.
Going slow to go fast is also a good practice to use when you’re rushing and running late.
I find that if I slow down my movements and do everything with deliberation, I won’t lock my keys in the car or leave my T-pass, forget my wallet or the folder needed for the meeting, trip over the rug or do other things that tend to happen when rushing. I learned this after a period in my life when I, overwhelmed with obligations and putting off getting organized, locked my keys in the car three times in a week and a half. Egads. Something had to change and it did. I changed.
If I’m already late, it doesn’t make sense to try to be less late by speeding up. What works is to get there in one piece, fully prepared, without being flustered. I’ve learned that when you’re late, you need to square your shoulders and walk on in the room as unobtrusively as possible. (But don’t try to sneak in – it makes you more noticeable.) Things happen to delay everyone at some time or other, so I’ve topped being embarrassed when forces beyond my control have made me late. (Though I’m not habitually late.)
Going slow to go fast also means leaving extra early so that I can ease my way to where I need to be rather than rushing. If you have plenty of time, your connections and movements will generally be smooth. If you’re running late, the train will be delayed, the traffic will be jammed, and you will spill coffee on your white shirt or have some other something happen to slow you down. I always have something to read, a notebook to write in, and my iPod to pass the time in case I can’t get in the room or office when I arrive.
I prepare my cloths the day before a special meeting or event, otherwise I’m fumbling and bumbling and nothing seems to look or fit right. And I can be sure that a button will be missing or part of a hem hanging if I wait until the morning of to try on my clothes. I pack my bag and triple check it the night before. I copy my materials the day before I need them as well because I swear that copiers and printers sense anxiety and will jam when called upon to perform at the last minute.
I also use the first stage of Lamaze breathing – breathe in, two, three, four and out, two, three, four – to regulate my breathing and center myself. It stops my mind from racing ahead. Other people use checklists to organize themselves.
Having structure frees you to be flexible, spontaneous and to enjoy the experience you’re having while you’re having it, rather than not being fully there because you rushed past yourself. Breathe. Take your time. Organize your stuff. Regulate your mind. You’ll get there.