Power Thinking, with Dr Morris O'Connor

Nervous? Only they should be.

Everyone gets nervous from time to time, whether you’re giving a speech, flying in turbulence or about to tell your wife she might have an STD. Getting to the top in the business world means conquering your own nerves and having the ability to make other people nervous.

It’s not in my nature to show a sign of weakness, but I used to suffer terribly from nervous, sweaty hands. My damp hands creeped-out potential investors in handshakes and made holding my Smartphone like holding onto a bar of soap in the shower. Despite intensive research I have not be able to source any clothing companies that make business gloves. The closest I have found is a driving glove, but it’s hard to come up with a believable excuse as to why you would wear driving gloves in a meeting.

I was losing customers by the dozen and spending up to five hours a week in Carphone Warehouse. Something had to be done, and eventually I sought medical advice and had a gland removed from my armpit. My sweaty hands dried up instantly, but my body compensated and within two weeks I started getting sweaty knees. Luckily only the sales team at Hyundai still greet with a knee shake.

I learnt that doctors couldn’t help, cords were my only option, and to beat my nerves I had to master my mind.  The following tips show you how to deal with nerves and make other people nervous.

Dry mouth: You’re in a pitch meeting, you haven’t done the research, your hangover is kicking in and suddenly your tongue is sticking to your teeth. You try taking a sip of water, but your shaky hands can’t get the glass to your face. In this situation you need to make an excuse to go the bathroom and seriously get your shit together. If you haven’t got your hip flask on you, leave the building. There will be other jobs and working from home has a lot of benefits.

Breathing: No matter what some highly successful CEOs tell you, everyone has to breathe. Putting someone off their breathing pattern is a highly effective way of getting into their head and messing them up. You know your younger ambitious colleague is a better public speaker than you and you need to take him down. Just before you go into the meeting take him aside and say, ‘Hey Phil, just out of interest,  before you start your pitch do you breath in or out?’ Don’t wait for his answer, but walk backwards away from him and make a hissing sound through your teeth. If you’ve hissed effectively he should be hyperventilating nicely in front of your bosses.

Dr Morris O’Connor is the best selling author of The Odours, Sounds and Body Language Guaranteed To Make The Competition Awkwardly Nervous 



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Your problems solved, with Holly Harper

Dear Holly,
My best friend and I have been close
for as long as I can remember. We’re like sisters. Lately, however,
things haven’t been so good between us. It seems we’re both very keen
on this bloke, and it’s ruining our usually solid friendship. I have
to say, she’s being pretty pathetic about the whole thing, and what
was a bit of healthy competition between us is now turning into full
blown war. It all came to a head the other day when I slashed the
tyres of her Mazda MX5 and scratched ‘whore’ onto the bonnet, and
then she turned up at my door throwing eggs and screaming about how I
should leave her husband alone and find my own man – totally
pathetic. Anyway, I need to borrow her GHDs: do you think it’s too
late to bury the hatchet?

Dear Tina,
It’s always a shame when two good pals
have a fall out. I think the same sort of thing is happening between
England and Scotland just now and my teacher said that one day soon
they might stop being friends for good, all because the big fat man,
Mr Salmon, who is in charge of the Scotch, is trying to convince his
subjects to go to war with the English. Apparently, Scotland never
really wanted to hang about with England in the first place because
it was a big bully, but because Scotland had no money to pay for all
the tonnes of Irn Bru and shortbread which everyone eats for tea, it
had to chum up with mean old England who had loads of cash in the
Queen’s piggy bank that she must have nicked from somewhere. But now
Mr Salmon has come along and he must be able to do magic because he’s
making everything free in Scotland, so no-one has to pay for medicine
or university or Irn Bru ever again, whereas cruel Mr Cameron makes
all the poor English pay double, AND give all their spare cash to
Ireland. Try to see a way through this, and save your friendship
before you have no friends at all except the Welsh, which is of
course the same as having no friends at all.
Hope that helps!