How to Speak to Superiors (Without Being Nervous)

The boss needn’t be someone to be feared (unless they’re just a horrible person, period). Carissa brings us her latest article explaining why your boss shouldn’t be someone you should feel intimidated around, and gives tips on how to better communicate with them, both professionally and socially.<br />————————-

I received this question from a friend the other day. An otherwise eloquent person, every time she talks to her boss, she gets flustered and worried that she says too much, too little, or the wrong thing. She was concerned that her boss would think she was incompetent and possibly un-promotable. She asked me how she can talk to her boss without this happening. <br /><br />Here are a few tips for getting the nerves under control and feeling good about your interactions with the boss:<br />

  1. Realize you have no reason to be nervous.<br/>It’s normal to feel nervous talking with certain people, particularly people you want to impress. But what’s the worst that can happen? Even if you feel like you’ve embarrassed yourself, the other person will most likely forget your exchange as soon as you are out of sight.
  2. Treat people with respect but not awe.<br/>In other words, treat your superiors at work the way you would treat anyone else in a professional environment. Be polite, smile, talk about things you think will interest them, and listen.
  3. Plan responses to common questions.<br/>If you do tend to get nervous and tell your boss every intimate detail when asked, "How was your weekend," plan a simple response in advance. "It was great – I went out to dinner at that new pizza place down the block. How was yours?"
  4. Rehearse in front of a mirror.<br/>Practice your planned responses in front of a mirror, and practice smiling. Just a few minutes a day practicing can make a huge difference in how comfortable you feel – and appear – in social interactions.
<br />These tips are also useful to remember in other situations that might prompt social anxiety. If you normally get nervous at parties or the office happy hour, rehearse a short, funny story you can tell to new friends. And remember – there is no reason to be nervous. The things you do and say are rarely as big a deal to other people as they will be to you, so if you get nervous, try and try again. The practice will eventually make you comfortable in all sorts of situations.<br/>——<br/>Carissa Doshi is a business writer and the president of Gen Y Media Group. She gives career advice and blogs about her experiences on <a href="" target="new">

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