Shaheen Bhatt: Make nervousness your strength

{ Q+A }

Clammy & smiley

I’m a 30-year-old ad executive and on top of my career game. Yet, every time I have to address my team, I get nervous and keep wringing my hands. I also smile too much. How can I avoid this display of nervousness?

—AK, Via email

Nervousness is not a bad thing. Many veteran speakers and performers experience nerves before big events despite being well-practised. The key is to use nervousness to fuel you. Listening to upbeat music before you address your team can help. Also, smiling shows confidence and produces feel-good chemicals. The most important thing, though – don’t run away from your nerves, lean into them.

During my first interview I was so nervous I couldn’t think of what to say. Eventually I gave up trying to pretend and I found that without the pretence of being confident, I wasn’t nervous anymore!

Shaheen Bhatt’s public outing of her own challenges with mental health fuelled discourse about a relatively ignored topic, and made her a role model for young girls to look up to

From HT Brunch, November 22, 2020

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