Tips and Techniques for Participating in Meetings and
By Adele Landauer
Nobody at his company knows who David is, which is a shame because he is a smart guy with a
lot of good ideas. In fact, he’s personable, has a good sense of
humor, and is full of aspirations. It isn’t that he is shy or lost
among a thousand cubicles at a major corporation. David works for a
medium-sized software company that offers a lot of opportunity for
upward movement. And people actually do know who he is. They see him
in the break room being lively and engaging. The members of his team
know him as a capable and hard worker who makes sound analyses and
is constantly finding ways to improve their project. So why does
David feel invisible or worse: why does he feel irrelevant at his
Like many companies, David’s is very
meeting-oriented. They have meetings for problem solving,
decision-making, planning, feedback, feedforward, combo meetings,
and meetings to schedule the next round of meetings. The future
projects David will be working on are decided in these meetings, and
they are one of the few opportunities he has to show his superiors
not only his good ideas, but desire to do more for the company. The
reason why David feels irrelevant or unknown and ends up working on
other people’s good ideas instead of his own has nothing to do with
sitting quietly in a corner. He does speak. He does participate. He
tries to engage and show his enthusiasm, but everything comes out
wrong. He is not believable. He doesn’t appear authentic. He has no
charisma. He has a Communication Wall that is blocking his ability
to express himself in an honest and real way. People hear him, but
they do not listen to him. His content and argument are betrayed by
his body language and voice. Going into a meeting for David is like
going on a roller coaster. He is not afraid. He wants to show that
he is not afraid. But once the meeting starts, he is screaming and
flailing about. For David, there is a discrepancy between who he is
and how he acts.
Eventually David found and tore down
his Communication Wall. It was a process of deep introspection
coupled with finding a strong desire to change and following through
every single day on that decision to live wall-free. To help him
fight against his old patterns, David learned a couple tips and
techniques that actors actually use to make a strong impression and
have a lasting effect on their audiences:
Take responsibility for your appearance. Decide for yourself how you want to
come across and what kind of first impression you would like to
make. From the very first moment you enter a room, walk on stage, or
step up to podium, use your body language to show yourself to be a
likable, competent, persuasive, and charismatic person. How people
perceive you and judge what you say starts long before you utter a
Come across as in control and capable. When sitting, find a comfortable position—do not
bob or fidget back and forth. When standing, maintain a strong
posture. Keep your gluteal muscles lightly contracted in order to
raise your pelvis as you extend your vertebrae to ensure that you
are standing up straight and not resting on a hip.
Every motion has a beginning and an end.
When you walk during a presentation, do
it consciously as well. Take a few steps to approach a designated
point while avoiding unconscious and mindless movements and
gestures. Let your body speak, but in a relaxed manner. Every
gesture should come from your center and then return there or be
replaced by an appropriate, natural movement.
Allow each gesture
a moment to have an impact, your body language is more confident and
you appear more knowledgeable and convincing. Avoid quick, hectic,
and agitated movements.
Breathe from your core. During inhalation your abdominals, lower back, and sides are extended.
Relax them completely during exhalation. Nervousness or stage fright
as well as stress and excitement can be easily managed when you use
Only those who burn themselves can spark others. Inspire your audience with your
presence and intensity. Speak from the power of your own passion.
Enjoy every second of your presentation or the meeting so that your
passion touches others. Make sure that everyone present in the room
feels addressed and involved. Spread your attention and energy out
into every corner of the room to ensure that no one feels left out.
Develop a sense of mission! Know and believe that you have something important to
say. Remember: what goes around, comes around. Everything that you
give and send out, will come from your audience back around to you.
Not only will it relax you, but it will create a real, open, and
honest connection with others.
Success in business today is determined
by more than the quality of our content or the caliber of our
product, but also by how that content or product is presented.
Countless hours of hard work are only given a few moments to shine
in a boardroom, at a conference, or during a presentation or
customer pitch. Too many great ideas have fallen victim to a simple
lack of appeal—yet not of the idea itself, but rather of the person
presenting it. Use these tips and techniques to help you tear down
your Communication Wall and find success as David has.
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