What’s your persona when you’re in a meeting? Beyoncé is famous for going into a diva persona before she takes the stage. She’s shy and introverted and says she’d never be able to perform the way she does if she didn’t go into this other personality she created. She goes into this persona to get in the zone before she gets on stage, which helps her put on an amazing show.
I often use this technique when I’m speaking; I’ll go into “CEO mode.” Recently, I had a meeting with my Executive Team. There’s been a lot going on, and I knew we needed to go through a lot of information, get things in order, make decisions and move forward. I’ll spare you the details, but I knew I needed to be in the decision-making mode. I needed to be direct and to the point. When we kicked off the meeting, I told the team that. I told them we had a lot to get through and I would be in mode.
I compared that persona to the wolf character from Pulp Fiction. The wolf, played by Harvey Keitel, was called in to take care of details from a big mess. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. While cleaning up the big mess, he was very direct and in a hurry which offended John Travolta’s character, Vincent Vega, while he was doing it. The wolf apologized to Vincent for being curt but explained how time is of the essence. He wasn’t trying to be disrespectful; he was just ready to move.
I knew I would be like that during the meeting, so I told my team about this scene, the wolf, and I said, “Just so you know, today I’m going into wolf mode. I apologize in advance if I’m curt, too straightforward or if I cut off a conversation because I know what we need to do.” I explained why and told them I didn’t want to offend anybody; I just couldn’t follow up on every comment. I knew it was going to be one of those days when I was in the zone, and I was going to be like the wolf!
There were a few moments when the wolf character came out during the meeting, but when it did, everyone chuckled. I’d say, “there’s the wolf again, let’s keep moving. I’m in wolf mode.” Everyone understood it, and the feedback afterward was that it was helpful for me to tell them my mindset at the beginning of the meeting, so they knew. No one was worried if I was mad, and it wasn’t offensive. They recognize me when I’m in that mode, but making it known at the beginning of the meeting was helpful.
It was a really cool experience and a good lesson to communicate with your team at the beginning of the meeting. Let them know where your mind is and set the tone for the meeting.
Let me know what you think, and give me any tips you may have. I’m always looking to learn new ways to improve our actions, meetings and leadership better.