How To Be Cool, Calm, & Collected – On The Outside At Least!Posted: 23rd of November 2015 by
Confidence is a great thing to have, it can win you friends, get you through job interviews, and help you in all manner of work-related and social situations. However, it can be tough to appear confident when you are feeling nervous, or if you have a tendency to shyness or an introverted personality. Instead of exuding a cool and calm air, you may find that you want to run away and hide, or at least cut your social interactions as short as possible so you can escape. However, if you want to get ahead you will need to face these fears and find a way to appear relaxed – at least on the outside! Controlling your nerves enough to appear calm takes practice, but the more you can do it the easier it will become. As with any skill, the more you practice the more natural it seems. But can you really seem confident when your internal alarms are telling you to panic?
While you may feel nervous the trick is in not projecting that to other people. This will be easier in some situations than in others. Making a speech in front of a crowded room is likely to be more nerve-wracking than having a talk with just one person (although that depends on who the person is!). On the other hand, while situations like job interviews can be uncomfortable, chances are your interviewer will know this and make some allowances. Coming across as calm can certainly help you to get through a job interivew - but that is not the only time you may want to take a moment to clam your nerves.
Regardless of the situation you have one real advantage in that nobody knows what you are thinking. They needn’t know that you are nervous, unless you show them. So stand or sit up straight, breathe deeply and tell yourself that you are confident and everything will be just fine. Simply telling yourself that you are OK before going into a potentially anxious situation will help calm your nerves, but that is not the only tip to exuding confidence when you don’t really feel it.
If you have a tendency to speed up your speech when you are nervous try to pay attention to this and slow down. It is fine to take a back seat now and again and let others talk (unless you are giving that presentation!), so give yourself time to think. Often people are all too happy to talk, so let them. Listen attentively and take your time when you reply, letting them know you have been paying attention.
Body language is also very important. Make eye contact, smile, and make sure your posture is good – not taut, but straight and relaxed. You need to look natural, no matter what may be going on inside. The more you practice this, the better you will become, so why not try getting out there and socializing a little more. Perhaps you could try talking to someone in the queue at a shop? This may be stepping slightly outside your comfort zone, but the risks are minimal should you find your practice goes wrong, certainly compared to an important job interview (see here for more job interview advice!)
Practicing your social skills will help things to become more natural while you work on hiding your nerves. Overall, breathe deeply, make sure your body language shows confidence (not cockiness!), and stay calm – you will find it will help you in any number of social situations!
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