You Can Control Important Meetings From Within
In my position I often have important meetings in which I have to represent myself. It should be routine by now, but such situations still make me uneasy and uncomfortable. What can I do?
Thank you very much for your openness. The biggest issue most leaders face in such situations are the feelings and emotions that come with it.
Based on your framing of the meeting the internal alarm system signalizes a potential threat and reacts with an automated stress response that’s not even in your conscious control. As a consequence you feel uncomfortable and uneasy and don’t react in the way you had intended. And sometimes even in ways you judge yourself after.
If your internal system is on fire, you can’t hold a board meeting in the same building.
There are some ways top performers/leaders are doing before and during the meeting.
Neurohacks to regulate your emotions and your response
1.Change the frame. If you label the meeting as something important where you have to shine or even deliver a negative message, it puts pressure on you and the circumstance. If you now label it as an “exchange of information among people with a positive intention”, how does this make you feel now?
2. Anchor yourself in the present moment. Feel your feet firmly on the ground, and imagine roots going from your feet into the ground. Feel deeply rooted. Additionally, imagine a tree trunk from your buttocks downwards. This simple exercise gives you not only stability but also lets you better focus on the meeting.
3. Get panoramic. Expand your eyes to both sides to get a panoramic view. With a panoramic view you can take in more information about what's actually happening in a conversation. In contrast in a stressful situation you tend to concentrate on a particular thing.
4. Breathe like the seals. Use a specific breathing technique to get into a more relaxed state and buffer the sympathetic response. Breathe in through your nose in two stages: starting from your belly up to your chest. Then exhale with an audible breath expressing relief. Combined with the panoramic gaze you have an instant tool to stay calm and concentrated.
5. Label Your emotions. Be in your body to sense what is going on there. Emotions are energy in motion that are creating sensations in your body like tension, tightness, numb etc. It is then another brain region in the insula area of the mid-brain that interprets these sensations as feelings. And at this point you can gain control. Label the feeling and sensation in your body: “I feel…. (overwhelmed, not understood etc.)” or “I sense that my … (belly, fist, chaw etc.) feels (tight, tensed, numb etc.). You will realize that the energy will shift as you separate yourself from your emotions. You are not your emotions anymore.
6. Color the scene. If you feel that you are not acting the way you intended, set a stop signal and color the whole scene with your favorite calming color. With your imaginary eye, splash the color all over the people, the table, the walls… until your feeling shifts to a neutral zone. From here you can do the panoramic gaze and the breathing to encourage the parasympathetic system for reset.
With all these neurohack tools from grounding over gazing to coloring you are in a better leading position to focus your attention on the other person or persons and respond to answers and create a conducive environment.
As you have read this information what is your favorite tool?
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