Handling Yourself In Stressful Meetings
By Sally Mabelle
Many of us find meetings very difficult. What do you do when you feel stressed or frustrated at a meeting? Have you ever felt that no one noticed you or heard you? Have you ever felt thwarted or blocked? Or plain steamrolled?
If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then read on for a simple five step process that will increase your capacity to speak assertively so that others will listen rather than become defensive. It will also help you to use your frustration constructively instead of blowing up or holding it in and feeling resentful.
To remember this process, here’s a mnemonic which you can use:
Beware or Feelings Will Really Rule! BFWRR
- Step 1: B Stands for Behaviour
- Step 2: F Feelings
- Step 3: W Wants
- Step 4: R Request
- Step 5: R Result
Step 1: B
The first step is to notice the Behaviour that is triggering an uncomfortable feeling inside you. Share your observation about that behaviour with the other person. It’s an objective statement that is factual – no evaluation or interpretation added.
“I notice that the majority of this meeting has been you telling us your perspective on the situation.”
Step 2: F
Express the Feeling that is triggered in you in response to that behaviour:
“When you are speaking to us without pausing to give us time to respond, I feel frustrated”.
Notice: there’s no blame being cast … you are just owning the feelings that are triggered.
Step 3: W
State your Want: “I really want to have a sense of teamwork”.
Step 4: R
Make a specific Request: “Would you be willing to give us some time to respond to those issues you raised to make sure everyone’s voice is heard?”
Step 5: R
Communicate the positive Result you anticipate if the person grants your request: “If we have more input from everyone here, I believe we’ll have much more cooperation and support and a sense of teamwork”. This process can take some practice so be gentle with yourself as you’re trying it out. As you get the hang of it, it will become more and more automatic and comfortable. Soon, you’ll see results of your feeling more confident, calm, and centred at your meetings.
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