3 Types Of Scary Work Meetings And How To Survive Them

There are only 2 kinds of employees who should be afraid to go to work: combat soldiers and Porta Potty cleaners at an Indian Food Festival.

So why are YOU anxious the night before a Monday morning meeting?

Not that I’m judging. I know from experience that the scariest types of meetings are the ones in which I’ve got to give a presentation, ask for support or funding, or get evaluated in some way. In these instances my biggest fear is rejection– leaving my colleagues feeling utterly unimpressed. Which sucks because I’d much rather feel like this:

But listen, there are worse kinds of things that can happen at work– like if you’re part of the mafia and The Boss wants to have a “business meeting” with you (in an abandoned warehouse) regarding your poor performance last week.

If a meeting doesn’t make you fear for you life, you’re probably worrying too much about it.

But how you shift your thinking and reduce anxiety depends on what type of scary meeting you have scheduled. Consider the tips below.

  • For case presentations and collaborative efforts: Take the focus off yourself and put it on the needs of others.  Instead of trying to impress others, think about ways in which you can be helpful to them. It’s a simple shift in thinking but it makes a world of difference. Imagine how life would feel if, instead of trying to prove your worth to others, your task was to simply be helpful.
  • For pitching ideas or asking for money: Remember that people will either choose to help you or ignore you, but they can never strip you of anything truly valuable. Here’s what serial entrepreneur Rajesh Setty said in an excellent interview about squashing his fears: “…you can’t lose what you don’t have. That means when I go and reach out to someone, what can they do?  They can reject me, right? But I don’t know them, so if they reject me, it’s not as if I had their approval, so I’m not losing anything I had before. You can’t lose what you don’t have, and most of us fear for a fictional loss.”
  • For when you’re receiving results of an evaluation: Instead of bracing yourself for criticism, think of this as the gathering of information that could potentially help you grow. You don’t need to be perfect to be awesome– you just have to commit to growing and learning every day. (And in my opinion, if you can develop the strength to gracefully listen to others’ feedback on how you could improve as a person, you’re already pretty awesome.)

Your Turn: Have you learned to manage anxiety before a meeting?

Photo Sources: Photo #1, Photo #2

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2 Responses to 3 Types Of Scary Work Meetings And How To Survive Them

  1. Sheryl says:

    In my experience, how a company handles feedback and performance reviews is a sure sign of how long I’m willing to work there. Right now I have a LOT of reviews at my job and most people at my level get feedback two to three times a week. I’m lucky enough that I go in looking forward to the suggestions they’ll have for me.

    On the other hand, I’ve had high feedback jobs that I hated. I find that the way that reviews and constructive criticism are handled can be a pretty good indicator of how well I’m going to like a job, long run. If it’s presented as “we’d like to give you information to help improve your performance” or “we see these areas for growth” it’s easy for me to have a really positive relationship. If feedback turns into a constant criticism of my personality (unless I’m being rude, or disruptive, or not working well with others – in which case critique away) it’s not going to be a good fit.

    • Kimberly says:

      Very true– how people give feedback makes a huge difference. Sounds like your current job has high hopes and good intentions for you, and I could see how this would lead to you handling these evaluations with such grace, humility and confidence all at once. And I gotta give credit where it’s due– the fact that you can endure so many evaluations is impressive!

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