Taking 5 minutes to check in before you dive in can be the difference between chaos and grace.
Heading into a meeting, a conversation, or a meal with your boss, your team, or your kid? Here are three quick and dirty things you must do to make that meeting not only productive, but enjoyable as well.
1. Set your intentions. What do you want to get out of this conversation? What do you want to have communicated? How do you want them to feel? How do you want to feel?
2. Check your presence. How will you have to show up to create the impact you want? Have you set the space right? (Will you be interrupted? Are you getting them at an appropriate time?) How do you look? Do you like what you're wearing and how you feel? (Small tweaks make a big difference.) What's the "vibe" you're putting out? How you're showing up externally (clothing, posture, body language, facial expressions) and internally (mindset, preparedness, regard for the other person, your attitude), will project and will have impact. Make sure your presence--from the inside out--is clean and intentional, and set yourself up to help things go well.
3. Take care of yourself. Are you in the right spot to have this conversation? Well rested? Hungry? Running late? Tired? Will you be able to bring your best self to this conversation? Check in, reboot, and do what you need to do to take care of yourself beforehand. (Make a list, grab water, get some good fuel in you, call a friend to run through it, meditate, do a presence reboot--whatever will serve you and your energy, do it.)
Of course every meeting has its own special sauce and needs, but checking in and getting into a bit of action here before you dive in can make the difference between a successful well functioning meeting and a chaotic meeting that leads to more needed meetings in order to clean this one up. Have fun. It's easier than you think. Ready? Go.
This article first appeared on Inc.com on February 9, 2015