Welcome to The Living Room!

Welcome to The Living Room!

I'm developing this blog to foster a warm community of people interested in ideas, art, science and practice around personal development and flourishing.

I work as an executive coach, and founded a company whose mission is helping people to find success at work in a way that provides satisfaction across all areas of their lives (you can check us out at www.madeleineshaw.com.au).

Leadership, learning, the wonderful brain/body connection, presence, influence, emotions, thinking, effectiveness, flow and FUN.

I want to know more, and do more!

The world is our living room so let's get living.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ask yourself this one question and nail that meeting.

Ever thrown every fact in the book at someone, but failed to budge them? Or conversely, how often have you sat firm in an opinion despite the best efforts of someone to convince you that you were wrong? It happens when people use facts to try and persuade – when emotions work much more convincingly.

More and more, we’re understanding that emotions play a central role in decision making. Neuroscientist Antonio Demasio discovered that people who injured the part of their brain governing emotion were left otherwise intellectually intact - but unable to make decisions. He has shown that emotions and thinking are intertwined - often unconsciously.

It’s not that facts are unimportant – they’re very important. It’s just that we’ve tended to give them all the weight and ignore emotions. When you get that equation back into balance by restoring the role of emotions, you’re going to be much more effective.

I often coach clients who have an important meeting coming up – such as a job interview, performance review or a presentation to key people. My clients are smart and successful, so they’re definitely prepared – they’ve got their facts straight, they’ve done their homework. I often ask them:

How do the other people want to FEEL when they come out of a wildly successful meeting?

If it’s a job interview, the answer might be “confident”, “relieved”, “excited” and “secure”. Those people have to take a gamble when they decide who to hire. Yes, you need to show them that you can do the job (facts) – but if they come out of the room feeling even a tiny bit doubtful, on-edge, bored or worried, they ain’t hiring you.

Your job, then, is to do what you can to put those people in the right state. Think about what would make you, if you were in their shoes, feel those things.

Gain confidence.

Thinking about how you can make the others feel good also tends to reverse your perception of the hierarchy in the room. This helps with nerves. Instead of thinking of them as powerful superiors looking for your flaws and shortcomings, you are now thinking of them as what they are – human beings with emotional needs that you can meet.

Take that awareness and intention into the meeting with you and notice what happens. In my experience, consciously following this process makes a huge difference to the energy and success of interactions with other people. 

What about you?  How do you prepare for those important meetings?

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