Situation: Karen was newly appointed to her position in finance, where she was responsible for managing and keeping the department on budget. Soft-spoken and petite, Karen had a hard time making herself heard during meetings, as her aggressive team shouted over her and challenged her when she questioned their figures. Karen's team was over budget, and she was concerned about her credibility when she had to present her figures to corporate at an up-coming meeting. Solution: We worked on increasing the volume and conviction in Karen's voice. I created a template for Karen to organize her ideas so she would not get intimidated and lose her train of thought. Together, we practiced breathing exercises before the meeting to calm Karen's nerves. We also developed strategies for dealing with people who lobbed hostile barbs or tried to interrupt Karen when she was speaking.
Result: After the big meeting, Karen said she felt prepared, organized, and confident. She was able to hold her ground and support her position. The note-taking system helped her to stay focused and maintain her credibility.