Let me start off by saying that being nervous can be a good thing. Being nervous suggests that you may be stepping over the boundary of your comfort zone, which as Timo Kiander outlined in his post last week is something we should all be striving to do.
However, sometimes the negative association we have with being nervous can actually prevent us from raising ourselves to new levels. One solution is to reduce the intensity of your nervousness so that it does not limit you from reaching your potential.
Over the past year I’ve carried out a lot of research around the topic of how to control nerves for a book that I’ve recently launched on the topic of meeting new people called Get Noticed. Some of the most interesting insights I gained came from a meeting I had with a public speaking coach who taught me two very important things.
The first thing I learned was that in order to take control of your nerves you need to detach whatever it is that is making you nervous from the situation. Those things may be physical traits or doubting emotions that make you nervous, regardless of what they may be, you must find ways of reducing the focus on these elements and highlighting your strengths instead. Secondly, you have to be prepared and confident about what you’re doing.
Here are six tips taken from Get Noticed on how you can destroy your nerves:
Detach What Makes You Nervous From the Situation
1) Focus on the objective of the situation
We often get nervous over silly things like what other people are going to think about our looks. A good solution to prevent this is to focus on the objective of the situation opposed to focusing on how the person in the situation may be feeling. For example, if you’re going to a job interview, think about what they’re looking for and how you can achieve the job offer through ticking the boxes in their mental checklist.
2) Have a friend with you
An excellent way of detaching yourself from a situation is to have a friend or someone you can talk to help you focus on the objective. If you’re nervous about meeting someone, talk to your friend before hand and then analyze how it went afterwards. This will help you focus on the outcome of the interaction from a more rational ‘outsiders’ perspective.
3) Keep yourself busy
One of the main things that make us nervous is having the time to be nervous. For events that are non-optional and inevitably going to make us nervous, the best technique to limit nerves is to distract yourself. Keeping your mind focused on things that don’t make you nervous will stops your nerves from intensifying as the event gets closer.
Be Prepared and Confident
4) Know what you want to say
Ask any public speaker what their best tip for delivering a great presentation is and the chances are they’ll tell you ‘be prepared’. Knowing what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it prevents you having to think on your feet and worry about what comes next. If you have a job interview coming up, prepare yourself with answers to likely questions the interviewer may ask.
5) Be positive and assume the best
When we think about something, we tend to manifest it into our reality. Everything you’ve ever done, from walking into a coffee shop to buying a new car, began in the form of a thought. Think positively about what it is you’re nervous about and you will notice yourself become less nervous and more likely to succeed.
6) Wear an outfit you feel confident in
When you look great, you feel great. Dressing well shows others that you respect yourself and the people you’re around. Wearing well-fitted clothes that project your personal tastes and styles helps to fill you with confidence and reduce your nervousness.
I’d be interested in hearing your tips on how you tackle nervous situations and whether any of these tactics have been effective for you. Feel free to drop me a tweet at @MarcusATaylor or leave a comment in the comments section below if you have any questions!
This guest post was written by Marcus Taylor. Marcus is a co-author of the book Get Noticed and head of social media at SEOptimise.
Image Credit: redisdead
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