Sometimes a conversation or even a presentation can make us emotional—that code word for teary or choked up. It can happen for a lot of reasons; sometimes we know it’s coming and sometimes it blindsides us.
What can you do? Your emotions help us understand who you are. Knowing what moves you so deeply that you get tearful is beautiful information to be able to share.
Sometimes we don’t want to do that. That choice can make us feel vulnerable in a situation when we don’t want to feel vulnerable, and it can make the audience worry about us. What can you do?
Practical tactics include sipping some water, taking two deep breaths, and locating yourself clearly in the here and now. “I am sitting in the conference room between Malik and Siobhan. I’m on the 14th floor.”
Even more powerful is to remember why you’re there. What is your message in service of? When I gave a toast at my sister’s rehearsal dinner, I was worried that I would get so choked up that I wouldn’t be able to speak. So I thought about her, and the experience I wanted her to have. I created the intention to make her feel cherished, and that allowed all of my emotions to work in service of that goal, instead of being about me and how I felt.
Intention turns your focus outward, toward the audience you are speaking to. It helps you to remember that the experience that is for them.