By Susan Harrow
One of the most common questions I get from clients and workshop participants is: “I always get shaky and nervous before any kind of business conversation — whether I’m trying to get a client to hire me, in a job interview, or trying to talk about my work in the media … pretty much anywhere! Any tips on how to calm down + appear more confident?”
When we humans feel ‘shaky’ and ‘nervous,’ our instinct is to over-prepare.
We think we need to do more research, memorize more notes and pack more information into our spiel.
But that’s actually very stressful — and rarely helpful.
The BEST thing to do when you’re feeling nervous is exactly the opposite — simplify, simplify, simplify.
Do + say less.
Rather than cramming like you’re getting ready for a high school calculus test, you want to re-discover the essence of what this conversation is about, in the first place.
You might begin by asking yourself two simple questions:
What does my audience / client / customer need most, right now?
How can I help?
To give you a few examples …
What does my audience / client / customer / interviewer need most, right now?
- Tips on how to lose weight, by the start of summer.
- Meditation techniques to calm her nerves, on her wedding day.
- A delicious new recipe for dinner, tonight.
- A major shake-up in the way they think about parenting.
- A personal or professional story that shows I have the skills they are seeking.
How can I help?
- By delivering those tips.
- By doing a guided meditation, on the spot.
- By demonstrating the recipe + offering a few surprising twists.
- By telling a true story + challenging parents to do something differently.
- By giving an example of how I would succeed in their workplace environment or culture.
If you can answer those two questions for yourself, there’s really nothing more you need to do — other than follow-up with an offer to keep connecting with you!
And when you can focus on those two questions, you’ll feel a LOT less nervous, because you’ll know — if nothing else! — that you’re ready to be of service.
Of course, the BEST way to prevent shaky-voiced nervousness is to simplify your message + prepare your sound bites before you actually need them.
The more comfortable you get with your sound bites, the less you’ll sweat in the spotlight — and the more you will shine!
Ready to hone your sound bite skills and prepare ones that will yield results? This post will show you how.