Do company meetings make your palms sweat and your heart race? For many people, meetings can be an incredibly stressful situation, especially if they will be speaking in front of a group. Perhaps you fear seeming unknowledgeable, or you just hate the feeling of people watching you – don’t worry, it’s incredibly common. Follow these tips, and you’ll find yourself breezing through your presentations like pro.
1. Make sure you’re prepared.
Preparation is the single biggest thing you can do to feel more comfortable in the meeting room. If you’re not presenting and receive a meeting agenda ahead of time, spend some time reading up on all the topics covered and ensure that you feel knowledgeable about them all. Imagine the questions that might come up, and brainstorm possible answers. If you’re presenting, make sure that your slides are in order and properly edited, and that handouts have been printed and stapled well in advance. If you show up fresh from the copy machine with a disorganized stack of papers, you’re likely to feel awkward and poorly prepared.
2. Mind your appearance.
The day of a big meeting, you will want to make sure you’re dressed to feel comfortable and confident – don’t wear clothes that are too tight, too revealing or generally ill-fitting, or you’ll feel self-conscious. Wear something that makes you feel successful and good about yourself. Before the meeting, go to the restroom and spend a few minutes composing yourself. Make sure your hair and clothes are in place and you don’t have anything in your teeth. Feeling well put-together will help you feel more relaxed and self-assured.
3. Do relaxation exercises.
Deep breathing exercises and mini-meditation sessions can do wonders to decrease your body’s physical panic reaction. Take 10 minutes before the meeting to sit quietly and clear your mind – turn off the racing thoughts and try to think about pleasant things. Then spend another 3 to 5 minutes doing deep breath exercises – breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. This will slow your heart rate and generally slow down the adrenaline flowing through your body.
4. Be early.
Being early to the meeting serves a couple purposes. For one thing, if you get to the meeting first, you don’t have to feel self-conscious about walking into the room in front of everyone else – and if you’re late, you’re definitely going to feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. If you’re giving a presentation, being early can also give you time to make sure needed technology in the room is working properly, organize handouts and generally get yourself prepared.
There are several ways this trick can work for you. Taking some time before the meeting to visualize yourself as a confident and capable presenter can help you to feel more prepared. And if you’re still feeling rattled, the tried-and-true “imagine them in their underwear” trick has been successful for thousands who came before you – as silly as it sounds, it can actually help.
About the Author
Zane Schwarzlose is an SEO at Fahrenheit Marketing LLC, an Internet marketing agency in Austin, Texas. Zane isn't nervous at meetings.