8 tactics to keep your cool in stressful business settings

Plan and prepare for tough questions, find your internal allies, and dispel any notions that you don’t belong.

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The higher you rise in any organization, the more you’ll find yourself in pressure-packed, high-stakes meetings.

Unfortunately, these meetings are often filled with people who are either rude, arrogant, vindictive or downright hostile. It’s always jarring to encounter what feels like personal contempt and blatant disrespect, but enduring these heated moments is part of the process of professional growth.

Instead of being shocked, angered or flustered by hostility in these intense settings, it’s better to accept it, get over it, and prepare your message and mentality to win the moment. After all, these tense professional moments are tests of both your knowledge and temperament.

Try these eight tips to keep your cool in stressful workplace situations:

1. Prepare your attitude; this is an opportunity.

If you get invited to present to executives or board members, remind yourself that it’s because you have ideas worth sharing. You do belong.

Of course, if you do get a chance, don’t take it for granted. Executive and board meeting agendas are typically jam-packed, and earning your way on, even for a short update, is a tremendous opportunity to gain visibility and experience. Prepare for your moment as if it’s the most crucial presentation of your career—because it just might be.

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