Prep yourself to shine on important days
Every once in a while a big day stands out of the calendar, reminding you that here lies an opportunity to be your most brilliant YOU. Big presentation, job interview, pitch or meeting – some days are larger than others. OK, so up until fairly recently, the big day seemed comfortably far away in the diary, but suddenly it’s looming large on the horizon like an advancing King Kong, and is causing twinges of anxiety.
Fear not. There are a number of quite simple actions you can take to ensure that your most brilliant you is firing on all cylinders for the big day. Just a little prep can reduce your anxiety leading up to the event and have you looking and sounding your best. Check it out.
No amount of articles or self help blogs can do the work for you. Whatever your task, make sure you’re intellectually prepared for it. If it’s a presentation, give yourself the necessary time to get it worked up and peer reviewed. If it’s an interview, work on answers to the most common interview questions.
They say Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. They’re right!
People who seem to be lucky are often working hard on their luck in between instances they’re getting lucky (get that?). You too can be that irritatingly successful person! Repetitive practice of your pitch, your interview, your meeting or your presentation hard-wires you for the big day and improves your chances of doing a good job.
Visualisation is becoming an increasingly popular way to practice. Visualising yourself positively delivering your presentation is thought to prepare you psychologically for the event and encourage a positive outcome. In essence, if you imagine yourself doing a memorable presentation and actually enjoying the process, you improve your chances of making that a reality.
“I’m going to get an early night, I’ve got to save the world tomorrow.” Don’t. Don’t change your sleeping patterns just because ‘the big day’ is looming. Additional sleep can actually throw your body off centre and make you drowsy. Try and keep your sleep patterns regular. Not too early, not too late. Not sure how much sleep you should be getting? It’s different from one person to the next, but usually 8 hours is a healthy amount.
Be like a caterpillar – go to sleep and wake up looking fabulous and ready to fly!
YOUR WAKE UP COCKTAIL
Avoid caffeine in the morning of your day UNLESS you usually enjoy a big caffeine intake, in which case simply reduce it. Caffeine reaches your brain quickly and acts as a central nervous system stimulant, making you feel alert and awake – however it can also stimulate less positive human traits such as anxiety, stress – even panic and paranoia.
If you can, instead of coffee, try a gentler stimulant such as Berocca. This combines vitamins and essential minerals which help improve your mental performance and energy levels.
Start thinking about brainfoods the day BEFORE the big day. Avoid a heavy meal the night before and avoid alcohol too as this will be guaranteed to put your grey cells on snooze. Have a good breakfast on the day that’s full of slow release energy. Porridge, you say? Exactly.
During the day, supercharge your amazing being by eating salmon, nuts, avocado, green leafy veggies and pomegranate. Avoid sugar. Although it may give you an instant rush, it will also generate a suger come-down that won’t help your longer term energy levels.
Remember, brainfood isn’t always to hand – you may benefit by preparing your own food at home and bringing it with you.
DRESS TO IMPRESS
It may seem a little flippant to talk about dress, but your appearance is only one side of the coin. By all means dress to impress and get yourself a haircut if need be – but above all be aware of your own comfort. Avoid tight or ill-fitting clothes, even if you look amazing in them. Wear comfortable shoes.
Feeling comfortable in your own skin allows you to shine in more ways than one.
DON’T OBSESS, ENJOY
Do your best not to become overwhelmed about events you perceive to be ‘big’ occasions. All of the simple guidelines here should help you avoid ‘obsessing’ over them and concentrating on delivering the right information in the right way, rather than simply concentrating on avoiding nerves.
Remind yourself WHY you’re contributing to the event and decide how you plan to benefit from it. Any event that demands your preparation should be a two-way process in terms of gain.
SMILE LIKE A TWIT
Turning on a smile, whether you mean it or not, sends messages to the brain that you are enjoying the process and this in turn can relieve stress and avoid the sense of humour bypass that anxiety induces. Smile, laugh, jump and click your heels just as you’re about to reach the spotlight (dare you). Body trickery is an excellent tactic – use it! If you can fool your audience AND your own brain that you’re confident, well – doesn’t that make it a reality?