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Anese Cavanaugh

April 11, 2014

How Getting Your Mind Right Will Make Your Meetings Actually Matter

Bouncing from meeting to phone call to email and back all day long, we have a tendency to leave half of our brain and presence in the last task we were trying to accomplish. While our bodies may be “there” in the chair at the end of the table - our minds and intentions are off in a myriad of places. None of which is the time and space we’re asking for from our teams. (Believe me, our people K-N-O-W when we’re not giving them the attention their hard work deserves.)

Don’t worry! Getting into the right mindset and space is much easier than we make it out to be sometimes… Here are a few essential steps to take before we step in front of our teams to lead. Do one, do them all, any of them count. Shouldn’t take you any longer than 121 seconds:

  • Meetings don’t HAVE to be an hour, or even 30 minutes. Consider shortening them to 50 minutes, or 25 respectively to give yourself time to mentally complete the last meeting or task, “reboot” and intend for the next.
  • Set your intentions for this next meeting: What do you want to get out of it? How do you want people to feel? How will you need to show up?
  • Stop at the door. Breathe. Get present. Be conscious about the breath in your chest. Your emotion in the moment. You’re now ready to enter the room.
  • Sit back, close your eyes (or not), and check your energy in the moment. Feel your butt in the chair. (I have people gauge physical energy, mental energy, and their projected vibrational energy - how are others going to receive them? What’s the “vibe” they’re putting out? Heads up: Game changer.) If anything is off, or lower than you want it to be… either take care of it in the moment, OR make a note to take care of it later. (And keep your promise to yourself that you will.)

121 seconds of conscious preparation will deliver an ROI 25x over for a 50-minute meeting. (Oh, don’t forget to multiply that ROI for each person in that meeting.) It’s good for phone meetings, in person meetings, video meetings… It’s good for 1:1s, meetings with your team, meetings with your kids, your spouse, or 1000 people. Remember the value of 121 seconds the next time your calendar pings you with a reminder. It’s an investment you can’t afford to miss.

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About Anese Cavanaugh

Anese Cavanaugh is devoted to helping people show up and bring their best selves to the table in order to create significant positive impact in their lives. She is the creator of the IEP Method® (Intentional Energetic Presence®), an advisor and thinking partner to leaders and organizations around the world, and author of CONTAGIOUS CULTURE: Show Up, Set the Tone, and Intentionally Create an Organization That Thrives (McGraw Hill, 11/15). As a leading voice on intention, energy, and presence in leadership and culture, she helps people unlock greater leadership potential, collaborate more inspiringly, create more openly, intuit more bravely, and lead more joyfully and effectively. Top innovators and executives in companies like IDEO, Zingerman’s, Cooper, GM Financial, Vistaprint, 15Five, Fitbit, Nike, Vivayic, Kaiser Permanente, and others have engaged with Anese to strengthen team health, maximize leadership impact, and optimize company culture. In addition to appearing in publications like Harvard Business Review, The Huffington Post,, and the NY Times, Anese writes for in her column “Showing Up”. She has just published her most recent book THE LEADER YOU WILL BE: An Invitation (a leadership storybook), and is currently working on her next book, CONTAGIOUS YOU: Unlock Your Incredible Power to Influence, Lead, and Create the Impact You Want (McGraw-Hill, Fall 2019).