Job interviews. Presentations and pitches. Important meetings. We all get nervous in these sorts of situations. Flashbacks to messing up our lines in a school play, anyone? But some people do handle things better than others. If you struggle with nerves in these sorts of high pressure situations, you might often find it holds you back – meetings and presentations going poorly or missing out on new jobs that you really want. So want to know how you can keep those nerves in check? Then read on!
- Control your body language.
Fidgeting isn’t just distracting for the person you’re with. As soon as you become aware of it, it can make you more nervous: you’ll be distracting yourself and constantly reminded of your nerves, instead of keeping focused at the task at hand.
If you’re in a job interview or a similar one-on-one setting, clasp your hands together with your palms open and facing up. Not only does this position exude confident but it will stop you from having to think about what you’re doing with your hands.
- Deep breaths
“Just take a deep breath” might sound like a bit of a cliché, but it really does help to calm you down. When we’re stressed or nervous, your heart rate goes up. Taking charge of your breathing, by taking slow, deep breaths will actually bring your pulse rate back down and help keep yourself under control too.
- Preparation, preparation, preparation
For some people, just knowing that they’re prepared for what’s coming can help to handle the stress and the nerves. That could mean practising your important presentation over and over in the mirror, and double checking you know the ins and outs to handle any awkward questions. Or going over mock interview questions with a friend and spending a few hours researching and revising everything you can find out about a business.
Knowing that you’re set up for doing a fantastic job is one way to mitigate the nerves you can have around doing something, especially if those nerves revolve around a fear of messing up the task.
- Practice makes perfect
Although it’s probably the last thing you want to hear, the more you do those things that make you feel nervous or uncomfortable, the easier they become. All those top public speakers that you might watch and wonder “How do they manage to make it look so easy?” aren’t just necessarily naturally confident. They’ve not been giving perfect speeches since they started out either. But in doing something so many times, they’ve just got used to the experience and it doesn’t make them as nervous as it probably once did. So instead of shying away from the things that scare you, stick at it. Embrace the opportunities to do things you don’t like and that make you nervous and over time, the nerves will fall away.