Here are 4 strategies in different situations to help you overcome your anxiety and optimize your performance:
It’s smooth sailing when you can just read off the screen, but when it comes to Q&A or winning the engagement of your audience, your anxiety starts to kick in. Key points and explanations are lost to you and the interest of your company’s biggest clients rest on your shoulders. When the room starts shifting uncomfortably your fight-or-flight response kicks in and you’re ready to run out the door.
There is such a thing as normal anxiety, and helps us strive so we end up getting things done. In the competitive dog-eat-dog world of the business place, your desire to fight-or-flight can actually be an ally in disguise. Instead of trying to kick your anxiety to the curb, learn to embrace it and use the subsequent rush of adrenaline and excitement to fuel you through your presentation. If you’re trying to fight your nerves before the big show, take a moment to take a laundry list of your fears. Acknowledging the elephant in the room can be empowering and when you’ve assessed your fears you’ll be able to keep a clear head when it matters.
The Job Interview
“So tell me about yourself”
The moment you process the question you break into a sweat, your eyes shift around the room, your hands shake and worst of all you’re stumbling over your words as you share your unrivaled work ethic, love for the outdoors and desire for growth all in one sentence. After a few moments of blabbering you realize you sound desperate and incompressible and you’re sure you just blew a chance at setting a good first impression.
Job interviews can be nerve racking even for the most qualified. It’s a situation where you feel vulnerable and have no control. The thing is, interviews are just as important for you as it is for the employer. So the next time you’re just a few steps away from your dream job, keep this strategy in mind: interview the interviewer. Take control of the interview by asking probing questions that force the interview to give insight on the company’s problem solving techniques and culture. Inquire about the position: did it recently become vacant or is the department expanding, why? Ask about the department: what challenges has it faced recently and how were they overcome? Ask about potential growth: what skills and qualities would you need to move up in the company and what lateral movement is available to you? Your inquisitions show that you have a vested interest in the company and will force your interviewer to give a more intimate view of the company that you might have never seen otherwise
The Room Full of Strangers
You’ve been sent to a dinner or event to represent your company and to make new connections. Unfortunately, you’ve only been successful in getting to know the wall and the rest of the evening doesn’t seem to promise much more than that.
That adrenaline that you’re feeling at that moment, take it and use it to play a game: how many people can you connect with in the next hour? By simply changing your perspective on the situation, you can put yourself in position where you feel more in control. Focus your initial focus on the other individuals who appear to be standing outside of the larger groups, then slowly move your way in. You’ll find that people are just yearning for social interaction and you just might be the catalyst to get a whole room talking. Need an icebreaker, try using: “How do you know the host,” the question will immediately open up an opportunity to talk about yourself and your company. If you have social anxiety, look at these tips to overcome social anxiety.
You’re about halfway through your song and dance. Now here comes the most important part, the one that determines if you’ll take home gold – that’s right it’s the closing. A surprising number of people get cold feet when it comes to finalizing a sale that stems from nerves, fear of rejection, or going crazy over nothing. While it’s completely normal to have fears, it can keep you from your full potential and can lower your value in a highly competitive environment.
The best way to solidify a close is to just treat it like the next step. Viewing a closing as an ‘end all’ can trigger stressful and fearful thoughts, so instead just treat it as another step in your relationship with your client. It’s important to develop this mindset, because a close doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a relationship. After all, maintenance and upkeep follow thereafter and those actions are just as important.
photo credit: Launch of the Centre for Predictive Modelling in Healthcare via photopin (license)