It is human nature to feel a little nervous when interacting with important people. After all, we are humans who have the capacity to both influence and be influenced. However, when conversing with a person of high influence, there is no need to overreact. Although these interactions can help you in your profession, it’s important to be yourself. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you lessen your anxiety and help your chances of having a positive, helpful conversation.
1. Acknowledge Why You Are Nervous
Regardless of what you call it, the root of your discomfort is fear. This feeling of fear then impacts the way you normally think and, therefore, how you will speak.
To overcome this you have to ask yourself what exactly is causing this fear. Perhaps you feel less than confident when speaking to important people. Or maybe you had a negative experience when interacting with someone similar in the past.
The common denominator amongst these fears is you. They have nothing to do with the person you are trying to speak to. There is the chance that the person actually isn’t that nice and, therefore, difficult to talk to. Even if this is the case, you can still work through the issue.
2. Don’t Overstate the Situation
It is also human nature to let our imagination hinder our ability to think rationally.
To use an example from earlier, you may have had a negative experience with a similar person in the past and, therefore, now think this person will bring about the same result.
When you begin thinking this way, it’s important to take a deep breath and state the facts. Acknowledge who the person is, acknowledge how you are feeling and why you are afraid, and move forward.
3. Prepare and Practice
Now that you know what is creating your fear, you can put a plan in place to attack it and start preparing.
The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be. Your nerves may not be completely gone, but that is ok. Some nerves just mean you care and these can actually help you when you’re feeling the pressure.
For example, if your fear is not knowing how you’ll start the conversation, plan ahead with some ideas of small talk you can make if you were to bump into them. You can even go as far as practicing it out loud a few times. Again, preparation is everything and will give you confidence. By doing this you will go into the situation with more confidence knowing what you will want to say if the opportunity arises.
4. Be Conscious of Your Body Language
Body language is key in any social interaction, and it is also crucial in our communication with ourselves. If you are walking around with your shoulders slumped and your eyes pointing down, not only do you show a lack of self-confidence to the rest of the world, but you are also communicating this to yourself.
To feel better about yourself when interacting with others, focus on the right body language. Stand up straight, make good eye contact and have a firm handshake.
Be conscious of projecting confidence through your body language on a regular basis. This way it is not foreign to you when you suddenly need to do it in an important interaction.
Long story short, know your self-worth and free yourself of misconceptions. Remember, at the end of the day people are people. Important, influential people shouldn’t be treated any differently than anyone else. When you realize this, you are able to speak to anyone as your equal which enables the conversation to be positive and productive.