My name is Charlotte Speak and I have #FOPO – fear of other people’s opinions.
It’s not a new thing and it’s something that loads of people identify with, but it’s not something I’d have said bothered me. In fact, my fear kicks in at quite specific times – it’s when I’m speaking to a potential new client. Again, not hugely surprising, it’s someone new and my mortgage depends on it. I can honestly say for every other aspect of my life I really don’t let other people’s potential thoughts about me hold me back. I wouldn’t say I don’t care, because it does come into my thoughts but I don’t put it up as a barrier or use it as a reason not to do something. Whereas in the world of Power of the Parent, I can’t help but get incredibly self-conscious.
I was on a call last week with a company I’ve never worked with before. In the run up to the call I had thoughts popping into my head about how best to present – I have a fairly standard intro to people now but obviously always take a bit of prep time. They were totally swamped in ‘what are they going to think of my business? Will I have enough experience to offer them? What if they don’t like my approach?’. I’d like to say I caught myself doing it and immediately had a word and told myself to get a grip, but instead I just bathed in it. Fast forward to the call today, which was absolutely fine although I spoke way too quickly to begin with. After a moment of (finally) telling myself a few nice home truths and taking some subtle deep breaths I slowed myself down.
There are a couple of things that help me in the moment that I thought I’d share with you in case you find yourself in a similar pickle…
1. Breathing. In hindsight I need to do it before I get on the phone, but we’re all experts looking back aren’t we! Anyway, some deeper and longer breaths than usual help slow my heart rate down, divert my attention and clear my mind / focus on one thing at a time.
2. Prep and practice. Not just writing my list of what I need to cover, but actually saying out loud the first couple of sentences. From the comfort of my desk or wherever I’ve plonked myself to work, I can practice those initial conversation starters or positioning I need to make without worrying about tripping up over my words.
3. Remember the good stuff. It’s prep related, but specifically making a list of my successes or relevant experiences that the other person might connect with. My memory ain’t great but I’ve achieved quite a bit of the years, so a gentle reminder goes a long way.
They’re the main headlines for now, I’ll let you know if I pick anymore up – and please share any tips you’ve got too…I think this will be a work in progress for me for a little while!