Chances are you’ve experienced nervousness and anxiety and that it’s hindered you from completing a task or goal at some point in your professional career. And, while nervousness and anxiety are not usually seen as positive traits, if approached correctly they can be quite useful. Biologically, we have depended on the chemicals that cause nervousness to perform at peak level for centuries. From hunting prey to presenting a product to a client, these chemicals have been instrumental tools in our evolutionary timeline. But if not properly channeled, nerves and anxiety can become debilitating and make you come off as less than what you truly are. You want to show your potential client that you and your product are everything they’re advertised to be, which means you’ll need to come off as confident, personable and genuine. Faked confidence reeks and most people can pick up on a halfhearted “of course we can do that for you,” or “I believe so.”
The best way to be confident is to be prepared. Below you will find a few helpful techniques to prepare for the important meetings in your life.
Do not suppress your nerves.
5 minutes before the meeting, allow yourself to feel nervous so that you may harness the energy nerves can provide. Acknowledge and accept that these nerves are here to stay and will be a part of the process throughout. By doing so, you will feel a calm come over you after 20 seconds. Repetition is important. Continue to mindfully desist from suppressing your nerves until they subside.
Practice but don’t over-prepare.
You want to avoid coming off as too stiff and scripted. It’s ok to say, “I don’t know, let me look into that and get back to you with a proper response.” Be fluid and genuine and allow your confident personality to speak to the benefits of your product and services with impromptu responses. This will create a stronger impression than if you anticipated every single question and will provide the opportunity to begin a conversation to better understand your future client’s needs and concerns.
When eloquence fails, become enthusiastic! Enthusiastic people come off as more secure and confident about their product and services. Some professional athletes listen to music to amp their enthusiasm while others drink energy drinks. Find what gets you motivated and exploit that. Enthusiasm is infectious.
Those are just a few options that will help you channel your nerves and close a deal (or deliver a memorable presentation). You’ll want to practice them all and see what works best for you. Individuals need to pay close attention to their own psyche. Work through these exercises. Trust your instincts. For example, one of my professors swore by a visualization technique that she described as the most effective way to overcome the jitters and nail a performance bar none. She argued that on the night before a presentation one should find a comfortable and quiet place to lay down and imagine the entire process unfold. She would visualize every single action you know you would have to take from the time you awake in the morning until the end of the presentation. Everything from cooking and eating breakfast to turning every door knob on your way to the presentation. Visualize a successful day, and tune deeply into that positive mentality. Include as much detail as possible – walk into the meeting room and fully recite your presentation, go as far as to come up with possible questions and answer them spontaneously. Focus on finding what works best for you and when you do, refine and exploit that method until you have perfected it.