As a new school year begins, I am struck by the number of new beginnings happening this time of year. People are moving to a new town to start a new job. People are moving within the same town in order to be in a certain school district. People are moving to a new position within their company. All sorts of reasons crop up that require us to reach slightly outside our comfort zone and this tends to make some people very uncomfortable. So, I am including a Daily Lesson from my book The Civilized Minute on being nervous. It’s a natural reaction to new responsibilities, new surroundings and new people. However, there are pitfalls to nervousness that the professional should be aware of. Be sure to consider the Savvy Suggestion at the end of the post that suggests how to use this information. Remember, knowing what to do and actually doing it separates those that are good from those that are great.
I hope you find this post helpful for whatever new beginning you are lucky enough to be a part of.
When You are Nervous
Everybody gets nervous. If someone should tell you they don’t ever get nervous, they are lying. It’s even ok to be nervous. Being anxious means you are aware of your impact on a certain situation. The recognition that you play a role in producing a desired outcome should drive you to overcome those feelings. Listen to your own reactions regarding your environment and feed off that energy. Make this an internal exercise, though, because being visibly uneasy will make others question your expertise and worthiness.
Your physical presence can express more to those around you than your words. You can tell someone you aren’t nervous, but the glisten on your upper lip may say otherwise. Likewise, you can tell an interviewer you are experienced in sales, but if you fidget in your seat during the discussion, they are going to wonder just how many times you have actually had a conversation with a potential customer. A seasoned professional, they will think, would not be so uncomfortable while they talk about their work history.
Take note of these common nervous gestures and work to keep them at bay:
· Fidgeting. You may be bouncing your leg or tapping your fingertips on the table and not even realize it.
· Avoiding eye contact. Maintaining eye contact is imperative for you to appear confident.
· Touching your hair. This is a habit you may have developed and not know it. Women tend to put their hair behind their ears while men run their fingers through their hair.
· Gesturing with your hands. Moderate use of your hands during conversation is good. Wildly waving your arms about is not good.
· Closing your body. Crossing your arms over your chest, sitting in a chair angled away from the action, even clasping your hands in front of you can be subtle obstructions when trying to connect with someone.
Savvy Suggestion: Create a mock interview or meeting environment with a trusted friend. Video this exercise so you can critique your body language.