by Terry Herring

I was in Europe late last week, talking to possible business partners. Here’s how spiritual engagement turned a business meeting from dark to light.

We were due to meet a French company. I had heard they had already tried and failed with another U.S. company. We were prepared for a difficult time.

We all sat down and their president spoke first, “I know this has been a very difficult week for America. The explosions in Boston and Texas have been terrible,” he said.

“A great shock and tragedy,” I replied.

“Could we please begin our meeting with a minute of silence to respect those who have died in America?” he asked kindly.

We did, and the entire meeting attitude changed instantly. Our silent remembrance and prayers for those lost made us more fellow travelers in the world and less business opponents. The discussions flowed freely. We shared our different positions openly. They even shared their earlier bad experiences. Not only did we finalize a deal, we opened the door to another and set a superb tone for our future collaboration.

We can all do this before a meeting in our own way. There doesn’t have to be a tragedy. Set the spiritual tone at the start and things always go better. Take a pause at work and try it this week.

Herring is president of Mission Phamacal Company, a San Antonio-based manufacturer of urologic and dermatologic drugs, which Herring runs from Doylestown, PA. He also is vice chairman of A New Equilibrium (ANE), a nonprofit organization that helps people develop leadership skills by recognizing the impact of spirituality on leadership performance.

The ANE will meet Thursday, May 9, at 6 p.m. at Triumph Brewing Co. 138 Nassau Street, Princeton. Susannah Coleman wlill discuss “Practical Suggestions for Dealing with Difficult People.” www.anewequilibrium.org.

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