Shaking off nerves

Credit Karma Farfalle
Sep 4, 2018 13 Comments

How do you handle nerves when addressing significant higher ups? I don’t have a particularly senior role but do have to talk to CEO, CFO, etc. from time to time and my nerves get the best of me each time. I unconsciously replay these short status updates or brief conversations for days, even weeks after, wishing I had said something different. Any tips?

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TOP 13 Comments
  • Google test n
    Try not giving a fck. Seriously. It's hard but once you master it everything in life gets way easier.
    Sep 4, 2018 1
    • Snapchat gm179
      It really is this.
      Sep 4, 2018
  • Intel / Mktg nononsense
    Practice, practice, practice. Just doing it more will make it easier. Do lots of other practice too - something toastmasters. Confidence is the key, confidence comes with experience.

    The spin I would put on the "dont give a f*ck" advice (which is good advice) is to not care as much about what they think. It's great to care about what you are doing and the point you are trying to make (it helps a lot, actually, to care) but the more you realize these execs are really no different from you, the easier these discussions will be.

    Don't put them on so much of a pedestal. Remember you are there because they want to learn something from you. You are the expert in the room on that topic.

    The most important thing is to make sure you learn how to make your communication relevant to them, know your stuff, relax and be confident.

    Again, most of this comes with experience, but some of it is mindset.
    Sep 4, 2018 0
  • Credit Karma Farfalle
    OP
    I feel like my one differentiating value is that I do give a f*ck, fwiw
    Sep 4, 2018 1
    • Giving a fuck != Doing what’s supposed to be done to a) keep your job, b) advance in your career and c) keep things interesting. That’s the essence of “don’t give a fuck”.
      Sep 4, 2018
  • Salesforce / Sales
    U mad Bro?

    Salesforce Sales

    PRE
    Enterprise
    BIO
    Many years in tech sales
    U mad Bro?more
    Think of our President
    Sep 5, 2018 0
  • Microsoft / Eng
    MP3

    Microsoft Eng

    BIO
    Troll living under the I-5 overpass
    MP3more
    It only makes sense to maybe replay once in your head after the meeting, make notes, and move on. If you keep replaying it over and over you must admit to yourself that is mental masturbation and all it does is it sucks the energy right out of you.

    The reason you keep thinking about it is because you attach too much value, too much importance to these conversations. In your head, you see these very important people, decision makers, and expect you to act in a certain way and deliver the results in the best way possible, etc, etc... whereas in reality you’re just one employee to them. They have their own family, their own alcohol addiction, maybe they do cocaine after/during work? They aren’t some gods, they are just people, just like you. Just like for a child an adult will seem like a God with superhuman powers and knowledge, you see the higher ups in a similar distorted way simply because they have a higher position in an invented hierarchical organization making a few more bits in some computer than you do. All it takes is for you to shift your perspective on life to one where you stop assigning a sense of exaggerated importance.

    If you tell me “oh but I can’t just stop feeling like it is important because this is my job, my family depends on this, etc.” Well, think about it. Wouldn’t being in a state of mind where you have a clear head, little worry, be more advantageous when it comes to improving your work? I assure you that you’re currently worrying about things that don’t matter at all and by worrying about those you don’t have any attention to notice the things that do.

    Ask yourself: if you suddenly became a CEO of a bigger company, but still had to give these reports in your present company, would you still feel nervous and replay it in your head endlessly afterwards? Or would you feel like you’re all on the same level? Eh, it is kind of a dumb question because you wouldn’t waste your valuable CEO time delivering these reports and get someone else to do it.
    Sep 4, 2018 0
  • General Motors 🍺o🍺
    No shortcuts.. just be sure you know what you are talking about and anything relevant they would be interested in knowing more about. Congrats though! Very few people get such visibility.
    Sep 4, 2018 0
  • New lsd2YT
    Identify what makes you nervous about speaking to higher ups and work on that?

    If you know you’ll be speaking with them in advance, prepare and rehearse a bit.

    No matter what, take a second or two before speaking, and look at a spot just above their eyes (military trick I learned from a coworker).
    Sep 4, 2018 0
  • VMware BobbleHat
    Just remember, everyone looks the same if they were all naked. Think about it when you are talking with the ceo, it’s just a monkey playing with the keyboard!!!
    Sep 5, 2018 0
  • Allytics / Mktg
    MsMjolnir

    Allytics Mktg

    PRE
    Microsoft
    MsMjolnirmore
    Remind yourself that everybody poops. They're just silly humans, too, and they'll listen to your blurb then go home, sit on the can and browse Blind for higher TCs just like you.

    bonus-- if you're CELA or HR they probably get nervous before speaking with you, too.
    Sep 4, 2018 0
  • NetApp blindNTAP
    Take a beta blocker before your meeting with them, most docs will prescribe for this sort of thing if you just ask
    Sep 4, 2018 0
  • Pretend you're not nervous, pretend in your head that they're nervous to see you.
    Sep 4, 2018 0