Sweaty Palms? Pounding heart? Simple secrets to get past nervous and into calm confidence for interviews and presentations.

11 Dec

  1. Breathe in, breathe out.
    When our nerves kick in, our breathing becomes shallower. Take several slow deep breaths down into your belly, breathing in to the count of five, and out to the count of ten, and you’ll get oxygen back in your system. Remember to breathe deeply during your interview and presentation, too.
  2. Relax, stretch and wiggle.
    Next, release the muscles in your body, especially the tension in your shoulders and the muscles in your face. Notice how much tightness you are holding, and then let the nervousness melt away as you consciously relax your muscles. Then stretch out a bit and wiggle around to loosen up your body and your mood.
  3. Smile. 
    It’s hard to be nervous when you’re smiling. Once you relax the muscles in your face, especially your forehead and throat, then let a genuine smile spread across your face. People will like you better when you’re smiling, too.
  4. Chew gum and drink water.
    The motion of chewing gum releases the tension in your jaw and throat. (Don’t forget to get rid of it before your interview or you step to the front of the room, though!) Have a bottle of water with you in case your nerves give you dry mouth.
  5. Be fully prepared.
    Few things will give you as much confidence as knowing what you want to say and how you want to say it. Prepare your thoughts in detail and then boil it down to a very simple outline on a sheet of paper or a note card that you can refer to in case you get lost. When you’re well-prepared, you have less to worry about.
  6. Crank up some music and dance.
    Music has a powerful effect on our mood. Put some heavy metal, disco or symphonic music—whatever inspires and uplifts you—into your iPod. A few minutes before your appointed time, find a spot where no one can see you, put your earphones in and dance for a minute to let your nervous energy out.
  7. Tell yourself that you’re feeling excited, not fearful.
    Ever notice how the sensation of fear is almost exactly like the sensation of excitement? Let go of thinking you’re afraid, and start telling yourself you’re excited. This one works wonders.
  8. Give yourself a pep talk.
    Remind yourself that you deserve to be there and that you have something of real value to offer. You have a purpose, so let that drive you. I once had a moment of panic before I stepped out to speak to a group of 2,000 people, but when I took a moment to remember why I wanted to share my message with them, my nerves eased up.
  9. Visualize your success.
    Pro athletes know the power of seeing victory in your mind long before the game begins. Take a minute and close your eyes and, as vividly as possible, imagine yourself smiling and shaking hands with the interviewer, knowing you did a great jobt, or see yourself in front of the room with the audience engaged with what you’re telling them, and then on their feet applauding your talk

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