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