Using our 10 tips to prepare for meetings

Speak like a fish and create bubbles of inspiration!Here you are… with that important meeting coming closer and closer. The task is simple… giving an update on your project… but that project is not doing so good. You have been dreaming about sleeping for the past few days, and the more you are thinking about this meeting, the more you feel you are to be grilled like a fish on a hot summer BBQ… you know this is the beginning of hell…

… still you have a few days left and 10 tips on the window of your aquarium…

ONE – Know your breathing rhythm. With the post Exercise: exploring voice language, you have learned “Coherence Cardiac”, a quick technique to align breathing, you are now practicing it several times a day, sitting, standing, talking to your friend. Time to start using it when working on your presentation, or just thinking about I, and notice how it keeps you calm, grounded. The same will happen when you use it during the meeting.

TWO – Learn to be in the moment. Being in the moment will pause any anxiety that prevents you from sleeping, and therefore from being your best self at this upcoming meeting. Being in the moment also strengthens our ability to focus and to connect, two important skills for challenging meetings.

THREE – Explore the range of your capabilities. When practicing –and yes you want to practice your presentation- explore keeping your body still and grounded -think about firm and dynamic. Then, explore using your voice with a lower pitch than normal. Also take a moment to think about the type of “physical presence” you want to create, and then assess the voice and gesture you need for that.

FOUR – Explore the world of emotions. And first, let’s refine this point with one question: what emotion would be useful for the success of this meeting? Then choose words that will help creating these emotions, and ensure it complements what you identify on our tip THREE.

FIVE – Know your content. Know your content so well that you will in fact forgot you know it and speak spontaneously from inside –your heart and passion. Be passionate about the project and about the meeting -and if you cannot be passionate about the project, be passionate about finding solutions to that project. That meeting being important, book a meeting room for an hour –for instance- and rehearse as if ; record yourself that you can listen to your words and ensure they convey the right message. Of course this assumes that you will have taken a moment to identify your intention for that meeting.

SIX – Visualise the outcome you want to create. Rehearse in your head the perfect meeting, with the best ever possible outcomes. Remember to incorporate sensory information –What will you feel? See? Hear? Smell? Taste? We all know the concept of “Self-fulfilling” prophecy, right? The same way we say “Say it the way you want it”, I am adding “visualise it the way you want it.” And if you feel like it, add a few daily affirmations on that subject.

SEVEN – Acknowledge existing emotions. To refuse to see the “elephant in the room” has never helped anyone. You are stressed, acknowledged it; you are worried, acknowledged it; and then reframe your emotions using our next tip.  At the end of the meeting ensure to do a short debrief with yourself –ask a friend to help you if it makes it easier- note your emotions as well as their message for you.

EIGHT – Use the power of reframing, especially learn to reframe quickly your emotions, you will need that before and during the meeting.

NINE – Learn to listen. Your public may have quite a few things to say, learn to listen and integrate this information in your presentation whenever possible. Start by showing you care; give them time to breath with you; and enjoy the conversation. Indeed, a meeting is a conversation, at times with a formal and structured approach.

TEN – Bring humour into the picture. I am going to pause here. You’re right; laughing about yourself may not be a good idea at that time. Before bringing humour, we are going to bring transparency. Your project is going poorly? Voice every concerns and possible critics yourself. You know they won’t like something, say it before they do –and yes, you can actually say “I know, none of you are going to like that point (…) this is due to (…). It’s a trainer’s trick; by being upfront you are actually removing the possibility of argumentation.

Here we have 10 tips to develop self-control and flexibility as a speaker, and 10 tips easy to apply in the context of a meeting preparation. You remember the 11th tip?

Practice these 10 tips regularly that they become unconscious competences, like an innate talent.

See you tomorrow with our next episode “Using our 10 tips to prepare for public interactions”.

You like our blog series, Speak like a Fish, exploring public speaking in 21 days. Join us then early 2017 and discover our eBook Speak like a Fish, 30 days to crack the aquarium.

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