Rituals you never think of doing to prepare for a high stakes meeting

Finance

Whenever we prepare for an important meeting such as a board meeting, a presentation to a key client, a job interview or like in my case public speaking, we tend to place all our focus and attention on the content of the presentation.

We ensure that we have all the necessary documents; we prepare and go over our key points, we run through the agenda; anticipate questions and prepare answers; do a last minute review of our slides and even carefully choose what we’re going to wear and how to present ourselves.

Often we overlook the need to deliberately prepare ourselves to be at our best, mentally and emotionally, for these high stakes meetings that can be quite demanding and stressful.

Whilst knowing what you’re going to do and say gives you a certain level of confidence and certainty from which you can conduct your meeting; preparing yourself to be mentally and emotionally at your best and to be fully present (state of mindfulness) during the meeting can help elevate your presentation and boost your personal power and thrive for excellence.

Here’s the ritual that I have developed and follow leading up to a workshop or a public speaking engagement. It helps me to be fully present with my audience and be able to provide the highest service that I can.

1. RITUALS THE NIGHT BEFORE

Connect with family and friends: I organise a light social activity with family or friends such as seeing a movie or going out to dinner to stay connected and de-stress. This mind shift helps to enhance my memory, the next day, and I find that what I want to say comes to me with greater ease.

A dinner high in complex carbohydrates: A dinner high in complex carbohydrates (from vegetables, not pasta or rice) and low in protein is very useful for supporting a good night’s sleep before a high-stakes meeting. A high protein meal may release amino acids that will compete out the uptake of the amino acid tryptophan through the blood brain barrier. Tryptophan is needed to produce serotonin for a good night’s sleep. An ideal meal is a small piece of chicken or tuna with vegetables.

Sleep and meditation: I ensure that all that I need for my meeting is prepared and ready well in advance. This allows me to sleep at a reasonable hour after I meditate for 15 – 30 minutes focusing on my breathing to help relax my body and calm my mind. I find this sets me up for a good night’s sleep. A good night’s sleep is the most important ritual for being at your best mentally the next day. If you have been to any of my lectures and workshops on holistic wellbeing you would have learned about the importance of sleep and how sleep deprivation can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which impairs cognitive function the next day.

2. RITUALS ON THE DAY

Morning exercise: I start my day with a 20-minute high-intensity training (HIT) exercise. If HIT is not part of your holistic wellbeing routine then walking for 30 minutes will work just as well. Exercise helps to relax the resting tension of the muscles, which breaks the stress feedback mechanism to the brain. It tells the brain that the body is not stressed anymore and it is OK to relax. Exercise pumps more oxygen into the brain and helps to put the breaks on the fight or flight response through the release of hormones that reduce panic and anxiety. This helps reduce the stress hormone cortisol and primes your brain to work in an elevated mental state.

Breakfast: I follow my morning exercise with a good breakfast. I am usually known to practice intermittent fasting and go without breakfast two days a week. But on a day when I am delivering a workshop, I ensure I have a balanced breakfast. This usually includes eggs, a source of healthy fats such as cheese and avocados, mushrooms and a slice of toasted organic bread. A cup of very good espresso coffee is never skipped. The nutrition from the breakfast helps with muscle recovery, lowers the stress hormone cortisol and makes nutrients available to fire up your brain function in readiness for the challenges of the day ahead.

3. RITUALS DURING THE WEEK

I include these rituals to help me stay fully focused and present as I set to fulfill on my intention for the day.

Deal with important issues: I deal with any important issues that I need to deal with, especially if I have issues that I have been avoiding or procrastinating on.  If I am unable to attend to that issue prior to the meeting, a technique I practice is to write down how I am going to tackle it and when. Through this practice, I am able to clear the issue so that it does not pop into my head during my presentation and take away my sense of power and the capacity to be present.

Complete “to do” list: I go through my “to do” list and complete or assign an action item next to each one. The to-do list may include returning emails and paying bills.

Wash your car: I get my car vacuumed and washed, which helps me feel good as I am driving to the meeting and increase my sense of personal power.

Edward KachabDr Kachab helps businesses actualise their potential through innovation and programs that elevate leadership effectiveness.

He is a cross-knowledge expert. His practical knowledge spans across executive management, innovation, intellectual property, coaching and leadership, education and training, publishing, medical sciences and holistic wellbeing.

This knowledge diversity gives him a broad perspective and the ability to connect the dots to gain rare insights for problem solving.

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