Are you facing an important situation yet feel too nervous to do your best? It could be a presentation, a meeting, talking to a staff member about issues such as under performance, a sales meeting, or even a discussion with your manager about KPIs that have not been met. Often they are situations where there is an element of “performance” and you may be judged, or where emotions may be involved.
Visualisation at Work can help.
Visualisation can help. Use this technique during your preparation and planning for the situation. Use your powers of visualisation to play the scene over and over again in detail. See yourself moment by moment doing as well as you want to do. Visualise the outcomes and the results achieved when you do well. Repeat the visualisation again and again. Refine the details until you are completely satisfied with them. Focus not only your actions but also the setting. Is the table in the right place, the other person or people sitting in the most suitable position? Is there enough privacy? Light? Required equipment? Focus on feeling calm, alert, energised and positive.
“See” what you want to achieve, then make it real.
Know how to manage deviations
Your aim in any such situation will be to have a positive outcome. In managing the conversation or presentation, you will move it towards that outcome. Therefore an extension to the visualisation approach to assist your preparation is to identify the “risks” – those things that might occur that may move the path of the conversation or presentation away from the ultimate outcome. It could be difficult questions or distracting questions in a presentation. It could be a display of anger or grief or defensiveness in a conversation.
Plan how you will handle each of these if they occur.
Perhaps your manager will become angry that you didn’t meet your KPIs. You could plan to say:
I understand your anger and I acknowledge that these outcomes are not what we planned. However, I have a recovery strategy that I would like to discuss with you. I am confident that it will be acceptable to the Board and your self without major modifications.
- Identify the likely “risks” especially when emotion or judgement of performance is involved.
- Keeping your desired outcomes in mind, plan how to manage each risk.
- Visualise yourself as being confident in the situation. Walk through each scenario until you are happy with each approach to your identified risks.
- Be calm, confident and poised – your desired results will flow.
Stay calm. Plan well. Manage the risks. Visualise outcomes.
Stephen Covey, in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says:
In effective, personal leadership, visualisation and affirmation techniques emerge naturally out of a a foundation of well thought through purposes and principles that become the centre of a person’s life. They are extremely powerful in rescripting and reprogramming, into writing deeply committed-to purposes and principles into one’s heart and mind.