4 ways to calm your nerves when you have to meet with your supervisor

Your supervisor doesn’t have to act like a bully for you to feel anxious during meetings. Sometimes, just the thought of having to sit in front of your boss can be terrifying. Here’s how to deal with nerves when a meeting with him or her is on the books.

Let your enthusiasm take over

Greatist features advice from Gail Saltz, M.D., a psychiatry professor at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, who recommends thinking of certain things to enhance how your feel:

“Think: ‘I feel amped up because I’m going to go in and kill this meeting,’ or ‘My boss is going to be really impressed.’ She also recommends writing down these positive affirmations. ‘To some degree, you’re forcing yourself into a positive scenario, but even if you don’t fully believe yourself, you’ll help transition your nerves into excited energy.’ ”

Make sure you’re well-versed in different concepts

John Baldoni, an author, leadership consultant, speaker and coach, writes in the Harvard Business Review about how managers can make “small talk with bigwigs.” One of his top tips is to go in prepared, which is something you can do before having a meeting with your own supervisor:

“Learn the issues the senior team is focused on. Ideally everyone in the company should know the strategic priorities. Bone up on these so you know them, too. Think in advance what you will say to a senior person if you meet her in person. Work out a key message about your projects, your career and yourself. This is good practice whether you meet a senior person or not. Finally, if it’s a more social meeting, you might try to learn of a boss’s personal interests — hobbies, sports he or she likes, or their volunteer activities.”

Don’t put your supervisor on too high of a pedestal

Try not to overdo it. HubSpot’s Director of Content, Corey Wainwright, says in an article about overcoming awkwardness around supervisors, that you should not take your assumptions about their behavior too far:

“If they respond awkwardly from time to time, don’t read into it. They could’ve just come from a stressful conversation. They could be distracted. Or maybe they just slept poorly last night. Push past those instances and don’t let the awkwardness build on itself.”

When it doubt, revert the discussion to the work at hand

Deborah Hankin, VP of talent at consulting firm SYPartners, told Monster what to do during awkward situations with your supervisor:

“When those awkward moments do happen, it’s appropriate to go back to confidently asking innocuous questions about the business at hand such as, ‘When do you think we may hear back from so and so?’ and ‘What are the next steps you see for this assignment?’ ”