Five Ways to Overcome Shyness Before a Big Meeting – Birds on the Blog

Five Ways to Overcome Shyness Before a Big Meeting

Even the most self-confident among us can experience pre-meeting jitters, especially if it’s a particularly important meeting or there will be lots of eyes on us.  Shyness can not only lead to embarrassing fluffing of lines or the familiar dry mouth, it can be debilitating.  If you’ve got a big meeting lined up and your nerves are already feeling frayed, here are just five things you can do to overcome shyness on the big day.

Strike a Pose 

If there’s nobody looking, try striking a power pose in the bathroom mirror before you head into your meeting.  In the same way a forced smile can trigger the happy hormones in your brain, striking a so-called ‘power pose’ before you face the room really can make you feel more confident.  Women are more prone to suffer from (unjustified) self-doubt, so take a moment by yourself in the ladies’, strike a confident posture and tell yourself you’re going to be totally fine.

Make Some Notes

Having a full script to recite could make for an exceptionally dull meeting, and people switch off when they hear someone simply reading out their notes without any sense of spontaneity.  You don’t need to have everything written down, but get yourself well-organised and have a few bullet points to hand to help you steer the meeting.  If you have a rough breakdown of what you need to say, when you’ll say it and how long you have, you’ll feel more confident in presenting and less likely to get lost and flustered.

Have a Drink Ready

That doesn’t mean a hip flask of Dutch courage, but make sure you do have a bottle of water at the ready.  One symptom of feeling nervous is a dry mouth, which can make getting your words out difficult.  You probably won’t want to swig too fast at that hot cup of coffee when you’re feeling flushed, and a bottle of water can become quite a reassuring ‘prop’ to have when you’re presenting.  Pausing for a drink gives you time to compose yourself and collect your thoughts if you start to feel out of your depth.

When You Can, Show Rather Than Tell 

If you’re shy when it comes to standing up in front of people, you could think about relying more heavily on a visual presentation.  Most meeting rooms will have some sort of projector you can hook your laptop up to, so you could even go as far as pre-recording elements of your presentation and simply playing them back – pre-recording some things means you can have multiple goes at getting it right in the privacy of your own home.  Failing that, having bullet points which expand on what you’re saying takes people’s eyes off you and means less talking on the day.

Get Some Reassurance 

There’s always time before a meeting to ring someone for a little last-minute pep talk.  Whether you give your best friend a call or get on the phone to your Mum, telling someone how you’re feeling and getting that little friendly word of reassurance can work wonders for your confidence levels.  You probably don’t need them to gush about how wonderful you are, just a friendly voice telling you you’ll be fine can be just the tonic when the jitter strike.

Remember, meetings aren’t an exam you have to pass and the majority of people will go easy on you.  Even if you’re not feeling like Superwoman on the day, most of the other faces in the room haven’t even noticed if you look a little tense and the majority of your colleagues and clients will be forgiving if you get a bit flustered.  Tell yourself you can do this and have a little faith in yourself, because even the best in the business suffer from pre-meeting nerves.

Lizzie Exton writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships. To browse our graduate jobs London listings, visit our website.

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