Friday, July 19, 2013

Use Visualization to Get It Right

Big meeting coming up – important date, job interview, dinner party or meeting a new client? Do you think about and visualize how you will greet them, what you’re wearing, where you’ll sit, and how you’ll follow up after an introduction? If you don’t, you should be. Preplanning and following up are important – or should I say essential – before a significant or important introduction, event or meeting.

I’m really talking about how to connect, reassure and make a good and hopefully lasting impression. You have what it takes to accomplish this as it is within you, but you have to know where to reach and retrieve it…and then how to use this energy.

I’ve talked before about the 7-second rule, which is the anticipated amount of time a person takes to decide if they like or will be rejecting you. If you don’t consider this on a fairly regular basis, you need to retool because you’re not doing yourself a service. Like it or not, those first seven seconds in an encounter are very important!

I think of myself as being pretty good at this, but that’s not to say that I don’t have to get myself primed before every significant event or introduction. In preparation I consciously remind myself to visualize the meeting, stand straighter, plan what I’ll be wearing (appearance), pull up my energy, and actively push it out. I also need to engage with a smile which will be probably broader than usual and extend my hand with energy that will be felt fully through my grasp. Perhaps most important in the U.S. culture is the need to make eye contact, which is engaging but not intimidating.

At the beginning of each personal coaching session, I ask my client to remember when he/she has done extremely well in a speech, presentation or important introduction. As they recall the event, they usually articulate everything on the teaching agenda. Doing a personal recall is a great visualization technique and definitely facilitates learning.  Recalling when you really did well is extremely effective because we can see ourselves and recall the personal experience again to remember why the interaction or event was successful. With that memory bank accessed, the coaching proceeds effortlessly.

And I would be remiss without mentioning the importance of planning what you want to accomplish. Often it’s important to start any meeting by listening to get a better sense of what the other person wants to accomplish. Absorb the atmosphere, look for resistance, and then (with a smile!) chart your course.