Dealing with Nerves at a Professional Level

At 36, you would think I would have long ago combated the dreaded nervous mumble and vocabulary blackout when in a professional meeting with potential (or even current) clients.

As it goes, I am not super woman with a bag full of confidence at all times. I am me. And I am human! Just like everyone else, on occasion I can be overcome with the little butterflies in my stomach and let them, even if for a slight second, take over me.

While my clients probably don’t give it a second thought, I am left kicking myself for sounding so … well amateur.

I am guessing I’m probably not the only one can who gets overcome with nerves.

Here are a few tips to alleviate them before a meeting.

Take a Deep Breath

It’s a well-known fact that Adrenalin increases the heart rate, resulting in shorter breathes and less oxygen. Taking a few seconds to take a few deep breaths before meeting with your client will draw in the oxygen, relax the body and slow your heart rate.

Be Prepared

If you are fully briefed and prepared then you will go into the meeting with more confidence. Additionally, if you do get nervous and stumble, you can always bounce back by showing your client how knowledgeable you are.

Visualise and Practice

Visualise how the meeting may go. Have a decent structure for your presentation, practice to your partner or friend. Write down possible questions they may ask, and be prepared with answers.

Think Before you Speak

When asked a question that puts you on the spot, take a moment to think about your answer. One of my big falls from grace is that I jump in to answer without taking the time to think how I want to structure my response. Midway through my sentence, I feel I as though I am babbling, which puts me off guard: confidence lost, insert “stupid answer or lack thereof” here.

Rehydrate with Water

If you suffer from extreme nerves, then it might be worthwhile having a glass of water with you during the meeting so to avoid a dry mouth.

You’re not the Only One

At some point in time, every human is overcome with nerves. Some more than others, but I can guarantee we’ve all been there. Most people can empathise with your bout of nerves, it’s the way you overcome your stumble as to how your client will remember the meeting.