Party season is upon us again, but like many people around the world, you may be filled with dread. Your confidence is low and you hate big gatherings. Here are four quick tips that will help you get through the night. Vlog and Blog.
Helena was hiding in the bathroom. There was no use denying it. She’d been at the office party for less than an hour and had spent most of it in here. She wished she had more confidence. An outgoing PR executive, she was now washing her hands and reapplying her make up for the third time just to delay her inevitable return. She just hoped no one had noticed.
The office had been buzzing with Christmas party build-up for more than a month. As the day got nearer the atmosphere got so charged the place had started to sound like the changing room before an England match: “I’m going to score!”, “new boots for me”.
Working for a PR company means many of Helena’s colleagues are naturally gregarious and come across as being highly self-assured. They’re great at talking to strangers and come alive when they’re surrounded by crowds. It’s why she hired them. But, while Helena’s outgoing and confident when she’s in the office or meeting clients one-to-one, having to work a room and strike up conversations with strangers leaves her…well, hiding in the lavatory.
If you are shy or prefer spending time with a small group of close friends, loud social gatherings may leave you feeling stressed, exhausted and anxious. Over the Christmas period, it is more than likely than not you will have at least one event to attend that will be filled with strangers or with people you find difficult.
Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president of the United States once said, “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.” Being in the right state of mind can ease feelings of stress and tension throughout the busy Christmas season. Whether at a fractious family meal or raucous office party, it’s good to think ahead about the event so that you’re not mentally on the defensive the minute you walk in the door.
Perhaps most importantly you first need to own your choice to attend. No one can force you to go to an event. If you are there, it is because you decided it was important that you went; whether for your family, your career, your friendships, or just so you weren’t left home alone drinking eggnog with the cat. Own your decision to attend and then work out in advance how you can make the best of your time there.
Here are four tips to help you feel more confident:
Before you turn up, decide on a goal. If it is a work ‘do’ perhaps aim to spend quality time with people who can advance your project or career. Or get to know your staff or colleagues better. If it’s a family occasion think about how you can make it go more smoothly, or how to support relatives who have had a difficult year. Helping others ultimately helps us focus less on our own anxieties and concerns.
Author Miguel de Cervantes wrote: “To be prepared is half the victory.” Great sportsmen visualise what winning looks like. Give it a go. Think about who might be at the event. Google them or look them up on LinkedIn so you can have informed conversations. And remember your business cards – you don’t want to be scribbling your details on wine-soaked napkins.
Keep a check of your body language. Chin up, back straight, shoulders back. If you are feeling nervous and stressed it will show. Smile! Studies have shown that your body language can affect your mood. Confident body language will make you feel more confident.
Peroni, Pinot or Perrier
Holding a glass gives you something to do with your hands. This is important if you are nervous. Also, a glass of wine or beer to settle the nerves won’t hurt. But, decide what and how much you are drinking before you walk through the door. One glass too many and you may wish you’d have stayed at home with the eggnog and cat after all.