Don’t let your anxiety cripple you when you’re turning on the charm or trying to persuade a powerful audience of bigwigs. If you allow yourself to look bashful or frightened, then you give yourself permission to feel the same way. This will trigger a downhill spiral as you reinforce your nagging self-doubts. Instead, radiate verbal and nonverbal confidence (even if you’re trembling inside). Stand up straight, loosen your facial muscles so that you don’t appear too tense, speak in a clear, commanding, resonant voice, and maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. Train yourself to overcome your fears by writing down notes on any important interaction soon after it ends. Like a scientist, list the highlights of the exchange (questions you asked, answers you received, lighthearted asides, etc.). Also describe those points in the conversation when you experienced the most nervousness or discomfort, and explore why you felt that way. This awareness can help you identify cause-effect relationships so that you can feel more relaxed in future situations.
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