05 Oct The Secret to Tackling Stress
In terms of what I recommend to someone who is about to walk into a something that is a stressful situation is to prepare by practicing.
I think that there is a level of preparation that goes far beyond what most people make the time to do. Say for example that you are about to get on a call and have what could be a very stressful talk, most people will kind of sit down and think about what’s going to happen, think about how they are going to react and that is preparation.
I would encourage people to go further. If you really want to prepare for a talk, practice it – “role play.” Sit down in front of another person and ask them to pretend to be the person they are going to talk to and talk through the conversation.
It may seem silly, it may seem uncomfortable, heck that may in and of itself make you a little uncomfortable. I promise if you do that you will be so much better prepared, so much calmer, so much more collected when you finally have to confront the situation.
I actually do remember 10 years ago when I was doing sales, it was stressful, absolutely, being stressed before a call, what am I going to do, my heart was racing and I would just role play. I would sit down with someone else and say you pretend to be the client, I am going to pretend to be the sales person, let’s start. I would stumble and ask if we could start over. I would do that three or four times. By the time you are done you are like “Wow, I feel much better, I feel like I can do this.”
A particular story I can share on this is that it is something that I do with the teams right now. We recently went and sold one of the largest retailers in the world. It was a really big deal and it certainly had stress connected to it. There was a lot of money involved and a lot of time involved and there was a lot of pressure to get it done right and make it happen.
So, I brought the team together and we just did a series of practice rounds where we practiced the presentation. We met together and went over questions we were likely to be asked and we went around and did the full presentation multiple times on separate days to really get comfortable and confident.
By the time we got there, it was smooth sailing. We had done the presentation three times. It was like nothing; we were already ready to sign the deal. So, doing this really does create a lot of certainty and calm.