I am not a shy person, and I am well practised to walk into a room and introduce myself to strangers. I have been attending business networking meetings for work for years, and often have to meet suppliers or clients to discuss their needs.
However, even like the most self-confident among us, I can get nervous. Especially when you are shy or under-prepared, you can feel like you are embarrassing yourself by fluffing your lines, experience dry mouth or come across as non-engaging.
Here are five things you can do to get you ready for that business seminar, or the next conference, networking meeting or an event.
Try striking a power pose in the bathroom mirror before you head into your meeting. Even a forced smile can trigger the happy hormones in your brain, and hitting the pose before you face the room can make you feel more confident. It will also make you appear more purposeful in your posture. Tell yourself you are going to be fine, and you will be!
MAKE SOME NOTES
Having a full script to recite could make for a very dull meeting. People will switch off and start to play with their phone or start reading any literature in front of them. Get yourself organised with a few bullet points, or practise your elevator pitch – a brief, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in what you and your organisation does. If you have this written down or nailed, you will feel more confident in presenting and less likely to get lost and flustered.
HAVE A DRINK READY
This does not mean shots at the bar! Have a bottle of water at the ready. A symptom of feeling nervous is a dry mouth, which can make getting your words out more difficult. Pausing for a drink gives you time to compose yourself and collect your thoughts if you start to feel out of your depth.
SHOW RATHER THAN TELL
If you can think of nothing worse than standing up in front of people, you could rely on a video presentation. With some time and practice, this can even be made on your phone. Meeting rooms will have a screen or projector you can hook your laptop into or a USB portal. If you can pre-record elements of your presentation can take some of the pressure off and less talking on the day.
GO WITH BACK UP
If you need some reassurance, there is always time before the meeting to ring someone for a last minute pep talk. Whether it is your mum, partner or best friend, they can get you in the right frame of mind and improve your confidence levels. Alternatively, you could take one of your colleagues who can be there for moral support.
DO NOT BE HARD ON YOURSELF
Remember, the majority of people will go easy on you. Even if you are not feeling like a superhero on the day, the others in the room will not have noticed, and your colleagues and clients will be forgiving if you get a bit flustered. Tell yourself you can do it, and have some faith in yourself. Even the best in business suffer from pre-meeting nerves.
I would love to hear if these tactics have worked for you? Please leave your comments below.