Poise is not always automatic. Nearly everyone feels uncertain and lacks poise from time-to-time. How do successful people restore their confidence and maintain their poise in challenging situations?
Poise starts between our ears and spreads through our heart and our gut and then outward through our face and our gestures. ~ www.jaywren.com
Situations that Weaken our Poise
Our insecurities can make it difficult for us to feel confident and poised. A lack of experience or a bad experience can undermine our poise. Situations where we fear people are judging us weakens our confidence and poise. Especially public speaking plays with our fears that people are judging us and undermines our ability to speak effectively.
My Personal Experience
Although I feel confident to give a prepared presentation, I can feel uncertain when I know that people are looking over my shoulder and judging me. When I first became a salesman, for example, I lacked the poise to give presentations in front of supervisors. It took months before I had the confidence to relax and be more effective. Not only did my product knowledge improve and lead to more confidence. I also learned that my role was not to show how impressive I was. Rather, I learned that the purpose of my call was to help buyers understand what they needed to know to make an intelligent decision about my programs and products.
Even with the increased comfort of giving sales presentations in front my supervisors, I learned the importance of developing skills for restoring my confidence and increasing my poise.
Poise: Steps to Confidence and Increasing Your Potential
Over time, I have developed tools to help me feel more confident. Some of these are simple. Others take time and practice. Here are tools I have developed to create energy and confidence around other people.
You don’t have to stop for a 20-minute mindfulness meditation to use breathing to gather composure. Anxiety can suppress our breathing. A lack of oxygen creates even more anxiety. However, replenishing oxygen with a breath can reduce anxiety.
Breath in slowly. Mentally focus on your breath. The process will give your body the oxygen to burn the adrenaline from anxiety. Furthermore, focusing on your breathing redirects your thinking from your anxiety to a calming breath and allows you to become spontaneous. You will return to an effective mental flow of your tasks. With the present moment mental flow, you will gather composure.
Listen with a Purpose
Focus on what people are saying. Ask yourself why they are saying those things. Think of how the information from other people is useful to you. Seeing the benefits in another person’s message takes your focus off your insecurities and creates positive feelings about what you are learning.
Practice Intelligent Silence
Intelligent silence is powerful. Attending meetings and listening helps us understand the proposals, the discussion, and the decisions. Additionally, listening helps us give meaningful feedback and input. We appear more thoughtful and poised. When we do speak, we become a valuable contributor to the discussion.
Bring an Agenda
Come to meetings with a list of things that you want to know and things you want to say. This approach is especially helpful when you are attending a job interview. Having the agenda in front of you creates focus and empowers you with confidence that you are at the meeting with a purpose.
Giving Support to Others
Giving your support to others in meetings takes your focus off your insecurities. In seeing how you can help others get their message heard, you create focus on the purpose of the meeting and not on how you feel about yourself.
Creating skills for poise can help us in every aspect of our careers. Additionally, these skills help us enjoy the times when we are with our friends and family. Equally important, these skills even help us get out of our head and into the flow of the present moment. When we are working alone or simply relaxing alone, we can enjoy the pleasures of poise.