Why Desmond Tutu Came To My Meeting Last Week

Posted on: June 20, 2016

The late, great Maya Angelou died 2 years ago last week.  I was lucky enough to hear her speak in London a number of times and her stage presence was riveting.  I still remember those talks even though they were more than 20 years’ ago.

When asked about performance nerves she said: “When I come out on stage I’m not on my own. I recall all the people who have encouraged me in my life, and all the public figures who have inspired me and I imagine they are all behind me as I stand on the stage. Its really quite crowded up here!  With their support I’m able to relax and be myself and connect with the audience.”

I borrowed this tip from Maya and whenever I’m in a challenging situation I make sure I bring my “virtual” support team with me.  The other day I was leading a very tense meeting between two traders at an investment bank who where at loggerheads. I imagined I had Desmond Tutu with me and was drawing on his strength, warmth and humanity.  The meeting went surprisingly well and I left feeling exhilarated by it rather than drained.

Next time you have a tricky conversation or challenging communication, think about whose support you would love to have and bring them in with you. No-one will ever know!