Ever heard the expression, “it’s all over your face?”
Truth is, if we’re bothered or nervous about something, as much as we try not to show it, it will show! It could be something personal that’s bothering us, or a presentation we are anxious about, or a decision that had been weighing over our shoulders. And in a work setting, sometimes it’s hard to avoid showing it.
Regardless, here are a few “tricks” that will help you hide much of the tension, so you can focus on your workplace communication.
#1. Breathe Deeply
When you’re tensed, you will tend to breath shallower, reducing the intake of oxygen. This will sometimes make your face turn red too. (Think of blushing)
Psychologically, this will also affect your thinking, because there are lesser oxygen supply to your brain. This will in turn make your more nervous, because your body is always geared to survive, and you’ve just sent a red alert to your brain that it’s in danger.
Taking deep breaths will increase your oxygen supply and also calm you down, helping you collect your thoughts in the process.
#2. Stop Fidgeting and Refrain from Constantly Adjusting Yourself
Brushing your hair aside, rubbing your nose, tugging your ears, touching the back of your head/neck… these are all signs that a person is being uncomfortable. Make a conscious effort (yes, we know it’s not easy) to stop yourself from these body gestures that will break your cover.
At one point early in his career, President Obama had problems using the ‘umph’ in his conversations. What he did was to put a constant reminder on his watch, and over time, he was able to overcome it.
#3. Avoid the Fake Smile
Though a smile is better than no smile, but a fake smile can really make your situation worse. For one, you are already in an uncomfortable position, and to an uncomfortable gesture to it, the effect’s going to be bad. Instead, try to give a simple acknowledgement with eye contact and a nod, in place of the fake smile.
#4. Disassociate Yourself from The Situation
Have you ever look back at a major blunder you had in the past, of which you thought is going to be game over for you, and realised now that the dust has settled, it’s not as bad as you thought? The truth is when we’re in the midst of the crisis, we will always access the situation to be worse that it actually is.
Whether or not you are responsible for the crisis or mistake, don’t take yourself too personally. Try to separate the issue from yourself, so you can look at the situation more objectively.
#5. Just Come Clean
When all else fails, admitting you are nervous could be the best move. Fundamentally, we all know that we’re prone to mistakes, and if are open about it, others will be more accepting too.
It’s not about showing weakness, because like it or not, we are all humans, and emotions do get the best of us.
Above are just 5 quick tips that should help you “mask” some of the tension during any crisis communication. Hopefully the next time you’re feeling the tension, pick one of the five (my favourite is #1 and #4), and overcome the situation at the snap of a finger.