Depression and Anxiety at the Work Series
#6 Proven Ways How To Get Through A Business Meeting When You're Depressed
23. March 2019
"Cancel, cancel, cancel!" These words were on his mind when he went to re-schedule the business meeting.
Too many reasons; too exhausted and unfocused to do it; too many meetings to attend and all with new demands on his executive functioning.
What nobody knows that he could not functioning at all.
Some months ago depression had entered his life. It had started as a blues, then it had affected his mood, his thinking and vitality. Finally, he had reached a point to get the help he needed.
During one of our sessions he was wondering how to go through his business meetings: he couldn't focus for long, had problems organizing his thoughts and felt too weak to negotiate. "I feel like a beginner groping in the fog.", he described his inner world. "I'm powerless. I can no longer move the fog away and do what I used to do with ease."
Here are six proven ways that helped him and others to go through business meetings if you feel depressed or weak. They will help to control your emotions and thoughts.
Use these 6 proven strategies to go through a business meeting in control of your emotions and thoughts.
Plan your breaks. Prioritize meetings and always plan daily short timeouts between appointments and tasks. So you will find enough time to regain energy. You can go outside for a short walk, or use the silence to think thing over or you can do some brain gym exercises to re-energize.
Consider delegation: If the meeting is not very important, ask your staff or colleagues to participate because of "overlapping appointment".
Put meetings in your best phases of the day. If your anxiety or depression is higher in early morning hours, perhaps schedule important meetings in the afternoon.
Be prepared. First identify your goal of the meeting and gather arguments supporting your goal. This will help you structure your thoughts before the meeting and will guide you through the meeting. Also include the other people in the meeting and their interests in your preparation to have good points in your hand. Make notes during the meeting and insist on writing the minutes by a meting member.
Focus on the discussion. Instead of drifting into your own thoughts that are often negative, try to listen to the input of others. Try this for one minute first. Whenever you drift to your own thoughts, notice it and go back to the present movement. Congratulate yourself for your effort. When answering, try to repeat what you heard and understood. So you can not only structure your own, but you also impress others as a great listener and conversation partner - people always appreciate this behavior.
Grab the table. If you feel weak and overwhelmed, grab the table or a pen and be fully aware of this feeling: "How is the table/pen feeling in your hands?" "How is the surface feeling?" "Does it have some rough edges?" Do this intensive but silent observation for 10 sec or one minute. This will provide you with a sense of control.
Change your posture. When you feel depressed or anxious, your body posture will show this. Your shoulders may be rolled forward, your back may be bent, you may look downward. Realize this and simply strengthen your body. Whenever you get more height and space in your posture and stance you will increase your energy level and decrease your stress level. Sit upright, expand your chest and roll your shoulders back. Feel your buttocks firmly on the chair and slightly lean forward. Try to make wide gestures. This will bring you back in a position of power and energy. Form your hands as a triangle to get a strong feeling in your hands.
Change your look. If it is hard for you to change your feelings, pretend another alter ego. Wear your "pink" glasses for example by wearing special glasses for important business meetings that let you look competent and strong. The same effect may have certain clothes. Use them like a prop for your energized and vital self. You can also put your watch from the left to the right wrist before the meeting. The right hand is associated to masculine, planning and thinking energy. You will literally program yourself to this more useful energy.
Root yourself as a tree. On some days you may feel too unstable and weak for a meeting. If you root yourself into the ground, no emotional turmoil will harm you. Imagine yourself as a tree with roots going from your 'trank' into the ground, through the concrete deep into the soil. And then all the nutrients are coming up from the soil through your roots into your body, your legs and torso, into your arms and hands, your shoulders into your head. Now feel every cell of your body getting stabilized. If you prefer a spiritual connection, imagine white light shining on you. I experienced this powerful technique from Rori Raye.
Observe your thoughts. Though you have all these worries and emotions inside you, you can still act despite them. If however, you are getting swept away by thoughts like "I am not able to hold this meeting", "I am to weak" or "I am not myself" you better step back and become aware of your thoughts without evaluating them.
I'm simply having the thought. One easy technique from Russ Harris is to simply replay your negative thought with this phrase: "I'm having the thought that..." for example, that I'm too weak.
Allow your thoughts to come and go like clouds or water passing by. Do not judge them, let them simply come and go. One thought after thought will appear and disappear. This method will help you recognize that your thoughts are always present in your mind but that cannot interfere your actions and words in the meeting.
Now it's your choice to test two or three of these tips. There will be no change if you always do the same actions in the hope that the results will eventually come.
What is your favorite tool? Do you have another tip for us? Leave your feedback in the comments.
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