Poise Under Pressure

By Stephanie Bickel

How can you stay calm and controlled in the midst of chaos? Here are some tips on how to weather difficult situations while maintaining poise under pressure.

Maintain a Confident Mindset

Love your audience.

When you care about your audience, they care about you. Show respect by using individual names, smiling, and making strong eye contact.

Believe you are an expert.

Studies show that a speaker’s perceived credibility is directly related to the impact they have on their audience. When you believe you are an expert on your topic, you feel prepared and confident.

Believe you are fighting to solve a serious problem.

When you think your message is the most important message of the day, you have more vocal and physical energy. Your intentions are pure, and your purpose is clear.

Believe you can solve it today.

Have a sense of urgency to find the answer. Demonstrate a focus on your priorities.

Be Curious. Don’t get Defensive.

Confirm that you understand what was said.

Either repeat what you just heard to confirm you understood correctly or ask a clarifying question. Sometimes, selective hearing occurs. Ask for more facts to better understand the situation.

Focus forward when the time is right.

Once the information is shared, see if people are ready to move forward to solutions. Moving too quickly to solutions can look like you were not listening. Dwelling on the pain of a problem can misuse time.

Leverage emotional intelligence when
disagreeing or delivering bad news.

Consider the directness of your answer.

To minimize confrontation, get curious and ask a question back – this gives you time to formulate your response and helps target a specific need or concern.

Empathize with their frustration.

State “I understand this is a challenging project/ situation/ request”. Help them see a solution based on a previous experience you may have had.

Agree with a part of what has been said.

This way you can minimize a defensive mindset and still lead your audience to your own conclusion.

If necessary, reject an opinion outright.

If you do so, make sure to justify your case with logic and reasoning.