Ten minutes of meditation before a meeting could significantly improve its outcome, according to research by the Kyoto Convention Bureau.
A group of 20 did five separate exercises – including memory, language, comprehension and listening tests – on two separate occasions, 12 days apart.
Before the first session there was no preparation, but before the second participants each did a 10-minute meditation exercise.
The study found that after the second session delegates showed an average improvement of 12.5% in completing the tasks.
The largest individual improvement across all the tasks was 21%, while the smallest individual improvement was 2%.
Reverend Matsuyama, a Zen Buddhist priest, who conducted the meditation session, said: “It is a simple principle; if your tea cup is already filled, there is no point in pouring more tea in it.
“People who come to attend seminars and meetings are often under pressure and tired either because of long journeys or work based stress. If they are to take on-board new information they must first make room for it.”
James Kent from the Kyoto Convention Bureau said future events and meetings were likely to include some form of meditiation.
“The findings of the survey are simply astonishing. Japan has traditionally been known for meditation and we are very happy to have some of the finest schools of meditation and teachers here,” he said.
Kyoto, to the south of Japan, was largely unaffected by the earthquake and tsunami that hit the north of the island last month, but the tourism industry has seen a fall in demand.
Kent said he had hoped to introduce more meditation sessions, but the upheaval has made this more difficult.
“The event industry calendar here is steadying after the recent turmoil across the country,” he said.
“Despite these challenges, we are so convinced by the research that we are starting a campaign to persuade organisers around the world to take up the use of meditation.”
These simple 10-minute meditation exercises are not meant to take time away from people’s work, but to help them be more successful at their jobs, he added.