Believe it or not, even the most confident among us get a bit nervous before an interview, presentation, important meeting or public appearance. So why aren’t they covered in a cold sweat and suffering heart palpitations like you are? It’s simple--they’ve learned coping mechanisms to deal with their nerves and tricks to mask their effects. Relax, you can learn them, too!
Read on for a crash course on hiding the fact that you’re nervous.
1. Just breath
The best way to counteract nervousness and its physical manifestations is to maintain steady breath. To learn how do this effectively in any situation, practice a few different breathing exercises when you’re at home and relaxed. Read this article in Time magazine online to find a breathing exercise you like. As soon as you can regulate your breath, other physical symptoms--sweating, flushing, increased heart rate--should diminish as well. Nervous right now? Try breathing in for 5 counts, out for 5 counts, through your nose. Repeat for two minutes with your eyes closed or focused on a fixed object. Feel better?
2. Take the focus off of yourself
When we’re nervous, we become hyper-aware of our own bodies and minds. In an interview or meeting? Instead of thinking about your own nervousness, try to concentrate on someone else. Ask a question to deflect attention from yourself. This will give you time to relax a bit while the other person is talking instead of you. If there is no one else around, focus on a spot in the room while practicing deep breathing. Don’t take your eyes off the focal point for two minutes, giving it your full attention.
3. Stop fidgeting
A sure sign of nervousness is repetitive fidgeting--touching you hair, checking your phone, tapping your fingers or feet, biting your nails. Fight the urge to fidget, and concentrate on keeping your body very still while breathing evenly.
4. Slow down
Try to slow down your speech. A lot. Pause between sentences and take a deep breath before continuing. Speaking too quickly is a sure sign of nervousness. To hide it, make a conscious effort to speak slowly and clearly.
5. Prepare for the worst
Sometimes we start feeling nervous when we feel underprepared. The best way to fight this feeling is to always be prepared. Feeling ready can alleviate feelings of nervousness and anxiety as it boosts your confidence level. Read our other articles on preparing for interviews, asking for a raise, and surviving the first day on the job!