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Top 4 Ways NOT to Bomb in the Boardroom

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Top 4 Ways NOT to Bomb in the Boardroom

Have you ever had a meeting, presentation or any important interaction go sideways? Most of us have. Along with being a missed opportunity to  gain the influence, recognition or respect we want and deserve, what stings the most is usually our disappointment in ourselves. Let’s make sure it never happens again.

Here are the top 4 ways that amazing leaders and emerging leaders make mistakes AND how to convert the bomb to being a boss in the boardroom (or in any other crucial interaction):

1.) Lack of Preparation

Since you and your colleagues are likely Zoomed out, this is more important now more than ever. Plan key points/asks/needs/outcomes. Think through how you want the interaction to turn out, and how you want to feel once it’s over. Make it as vivid and visceral as possible, then visualize it until you believe it’s possible.

2.) Lack of Empathy

When it comes to crucial conversations, presentations, meetings etc, especially those that are high pressure/highly important, it’s common for emotions to run high. Lack of empathy can make you sound nervous, doubtful, angry, or frustrated. This can likely close off others to what you have to say. If you want to be heard, prepare by taking a 360 look at what it’s like to be the person you are trying to influence. Then, your tone will shift as will your ability to  be heard. 

I’m not saying you don’t deserve to be angry or frustrated in certain situations, BUT it likely will not yield the results you’re hoping for. According to ex-FBI hostage negotiator and author of Never Split the Difference, Chris Voss, the 7-38-55 rule applies which relates to the importance of words, tone and body language, in that order. So, you could say ‘I love you.’ and get yelled at by your significant other IF your tone and body language are off. When it comes to work, it’s vital to prepare our mindset and stay calm, or the conversation could do more harm than good. This rings true for men and women. As far as condescension which is sometimes described as mansplaining, it’s typically reserved for, well, men. Part of the problem is that men may not be 100% aware or have the intention of mansplaining. Ladies, you’ll need to speak up if this is happening. Gentlemen, it may be worth taking a moment to reflect if someone mentions that you sound condescending.

3.) A Proposal Without a First Date 

It’s a human drive to feel acknowledged and validated, so make sure you do so even with those whom you strongly disagree. This is NOT agreeing with him/her, simply letting them know ‘I hear you, and I understand.’ If you jump into your perspective first, it’s like a proposal without a first date, awkward and not likely to go over well.

4.) Speaking Too Much or Too Quickly

Highly        influential        people        speak        slowly        and        only        use        words        that        matter        to        their        cause.  So, slow down and think through what’s most important for you to convey (see #1). The rest goes on the editing room floor. Then S   L    O    W  down the cadence of your words. Be extra mindful of this if emotions start running high.

Want more in-depth coaching on how to be a boss in the boardroom (or in any crucial interaction)? Check out my video.

I’m SO grateful for all the amazing work you put into the world and your willingness to continue to learn and grow.

Listen to the Podcast:


Keep up all your amazing work and Happy Thanksgiving!

P.s. Know three like-minded female leaders or male allies this will serve? Please do share!

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