Performing Under Pressure

No one is immune from freezing during high-pressure moments at work. Maybe you lose your voice or your ability to think straight when speaking with an important client, manager, or audience. That’s normal, but also preventable. To set yourself up for success in your next big moment at work, use visualization. Bring to mind your previous successes to remind yourself that you have what it takes. This will reduce your anxiety and boost your comfort level.

Next, visualize the upcoming moment in as much detail as you can. What will it look and feel like to walk into your manager’s office and ask for that raise? How do the lights feel as you walk out in front of the audience, into the boardroom, onto the stage, or even sign on to Zoom? What will be the first words you say? You might develop a short ritual — such as a breathing exercise, repeating a phrase or mantra, listening to a particular song, or sipping a favorite tea — that can get you in the right mindset to get through those first nerve-wracking moments before autopilot kicks in. Once you’ve got a routine you’re comfortable with, you can use it whenever you need to.

Finally, consider simply writing down your fears ahead of time. Doing so can help to both normalize them and make them seem not so daunting after all.