pressure, Pressure, PRESSURE … 5 Coping Techniques!

Handling PressureEvery business or organization is constantly under pressure to be more effective, provide better customer service, increase profits, increase subscriptions or readership and much more. In reality if you’re not being urged to move forward, you or your organization is probably “going nowhere.” To use the vernacular it’s “no pain no gain.” All of us must push the envelope and take calculated risks, however we may have to “take some heat” from time to time. Regrettably, this simply the way it works. If we seriously want to experience more success, you should be armed with some techniques to help us effectively handle the pressure.

Let me be clear that I am not suggesting that we become “human punching bags.” You must be able to handle the pressure like a true leader. If so, your colleagues, staff, prospects and others will definitely respect you more, more readily accept your ideas, proposals, and solutions.

The suggestions that I am going to offer are probably not original. I learned them from mentors and managers as I progressed through my management career and business ownership.

So here are five suggestions that may be helpful to you:

1. Avoid Emotional Attachment to Your Ideas
It’s great to be passionate about your ideas, but if you’re emotionally attached to them, they may come through as “personal” and not for the benefit of the team or organization. In general, people are correctly distrustful of ideologues trying to shove things down their throats. It’s all about positioning, so you may have to be willing to walk away entirely from the idea or at least accept suggestions and re-frame your presentation. That act of consideration will demonstrate that you have perspective and poise.

2. Embrace Alternative Views
The best way to respond to most objections is by first embracing them. Then you have an opportunity to explain the rationale and evidence as to why your plan or proposal is a proper solution to the issue under consideration. Once again, it may be an issue of positioning. There is a big and significant difference between, “Here’s why my approach is better” and “That’s an interesting idea; here’s why I think this might be a better approach.”

3. Handle “Zingers”
When you’re presenting your ideas or proposals, in almost every case, you should be prepared for a zinger or two. Dictionary.com defines a zinger as a quick, witty, or pointed remark or retort that could be used to deflate the opposition, in this case, you. There’s only one way to beat a zinger and that’s with a zinger retort. How do you prepare for this? The answer is to become competent and agile at thinking on your feet. To accomplish and master this skill, you must boost your knowledge base, get significant experience, never overlook preparation, and all of this will elevate your self-confidence. As in most interactions, it’s essential to maintain a sense of humor.

4. Know Your Audience or Stakeholders
Begin by being thoroughly familiar with the issues and your content. With this, you are in a position to expect a positive outcome but you are prepared for the worst. An equally important and dare I say critical factor is knowing your stakeholders and audience so that you will have some advance understanding or their potential reluctance or objections. You can gain some valuable insight by having a few one-on-one pre-meetings with those that may be considered influencers. Now you can be ready to counter or respond to effortlessly to objection, concerns or zingers.

5. Control the Meeting
It’s your meeting, or at least your time to present, so you’re in charge and you need to project that. Be prepared to redirect any efforts to go down a rat hole on some mindlessly trivial point. You have to be adept at all the usual techniques for keeping meetings on track, on topic, and on time. Conducting meetings is a topic of its own.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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Posted in Business Process Improvement, Communication Skills, Leadership, Performance Management

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