Pre-Meeting Jitters? How To Calm Your Nerves Before A Big Business Event

October 12, 2012  |  

You’re getting ready to head into a big meeting or a huge company presentation. Your legs are shaky, your palms are sweating  and you can’t think straight. It’s normal to feel nervous and stressed before a major event, but there are ways to calm your nerves.

At Your Desk

Take a few moments before you head off to your event. “Bounce a ball or use a squeeze ball if in a confined space.  The repetition is mesmerizing and gets you in the zone,” says life management expert Kimberly Friedmutter.

Have a cup of tea or sparkling water. “Lay off coffee after breakfast because it agitates you. . . you need a calming,” she tells us.

Get Clued In

Make sure you know what the task calls for and that you are up to the challenge. “Get clear on what your role and responsibilities are,” says Laurie Erdman, founder of Chronic Wellness Coaching. “When we are unclear of what is expected, we tend to take on more than required. There is a time and place to be an overachiever but if it is causing unnecessary stress, it’s time to cut back. Focus on impressing the boss by doing a great job in your role and not someone else’s.”

Don’t ingore the stress, try to figure out what is making you stressed. “Often, we’re stressed but we don’t take the time to sit down and deal with it. Instead, we continue rushing around, absentmindedly stressing about how stressed we are,” says registered yoga instructor Sara DiVello.

Focus on Positive Thoughts

Don’t dwell on things that can go wrong, it will only make you feel more stressed out. “Recall one pleasurable sensory experience you’ve had in the last 24 hours. It might be something delicious you ate, something beautiful you saw,” Dr. Marlene Caroselli,  corporate trainer and author of Principled Persuasion.

Get  Physical

Relieve stress through a few exercises. “Stand in a doorway and press your palms against the door frame on both sides. Hold your breath and keep increasing the pressure. You’ll feel warmth rushing to your face, head, and neck. Hold as long as you can. Release. Inhale deeply. Repeat three times,” suggests Caroselli.

Also use your own hands to soothe your nerves. “Self-massage. Imagine your hands are a magic healing and tension-relieving tool. Breathe slowly and deeply as you massage yourself. As you inhale, feel your breath flowing directly to the tense places in your body. Try to “see” your fatigue, soreness, discomfort, tension, and worry escaping through every pore,” Caroselli tells Madame Noire.

Heath and wellness consultant Akwesi Munir Asante offers another exercise. “Sit upright without forcing or creating more tension. Remove your shoes and simply close eyes. Rub the palms of hand together and cupping them over the eyes. Stay like this for a minute or two.”

What if you are in the middle of the meeting and feel a panic attack? “If you’re in a meeting and can’t do something obvious, try utilizing the ‘fire point’: Press the tip of your tongue to the little mound right behind your top two front teeth. You’ll feel your jaw relax and your whole face melt and your shoulders drop,” says DiVello.

Just Breathe

“Breathe. Yes, it sounds simple, but it really works. The act of taking a long, slow, deep breath brings you out of that fight-or-flight response and calms your brain,” advises DiVello. “You can also try one of these yoga breath work practices for anxiety: Breathe in for a count of 4 and extend the exhale for a count of five, six, or seven… even eight.”

It’s Not Brain Surgery

Don’t let your thoughts overwhelm. If you make a mistake during your meeting, speech or presentation, move on. “Keep it in perspective,” says DiVello. “If you are working on the cure for cancer, world poverty, and childhood hunger, fine. If not (or even if you are), rein yourself in. Of course, we all get caught up in the importance of what we’re doing and everything feels so very vital, but putting it in perspective–and being able to laugh at yourself as you do so–will help you in managing it.”

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