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Harness the nervous energy you feel before court appearances and make it work for you
Even the most confident professionals experience anxiety from time to time, particularly before an important presentation or in high-pressure situations – and presentations and high-pressure situations are what being an attorney are all about. However, knowing it’s a normal reaction doesn’t make pre-court jitters any easier to live with. Reclaim your inner peace with these tips and tricks to calm down quickly.
Prepare, don’t obsess: Obviously, appropriate preparation is essential. It’s also your job. Don’t procrastinate, do your homework, review your materials thoroughly, and have confidence in knowing what you need to know.
Be cautious not to over prepare though. Not only will you sound too rehearsed but exhausting yourself before trial will only add to feeling overwhelmed and irritable.
Breathe deeply: “Take a deep breath” seems like a mindless platitude when your problems feel pressing, but it’s good advice. It’s more about mindfulness than respiration, though. Bring consciousness to your breath by slowly filling your lungs with air, pausing for a moment, and steadily exhaling. Pause again and repeat.
Guided meditation apps can help improve your focus and center your breathing and thoughts. Even spending a quick ten minutes in your car before entering the courthouse can help change your mindset and ease any physical discomfort. Practicing meditation will eventually lead to the ability to connect to a sense of calm and well-being even in the most chaotic of circumstances.
Ritual of comfort: Set yourself up for success by indulging in a ritual that brings you comfort before each court appearance. Whether it’s a rigorous workout to burn off nervous energy or a quiet breakfast in your favorite coffee shop, make time for whatever it is that makes you feel good and create a regular pattern of behavior before each case to create a sense of satisfactory predictability before facing the unknown.
Reframe your fear: Feeling anxious is accompanied by physical symptoms, which is what makes that vague sense of dread so difficult to ignore. Difficulty drawing a full breath, increased heart rate, a flushed face, and chest, sweaty palms, racing thoughts – it all adds up to make feeling nervous seem more serious than it is.
Consider the fact that fear and excitement share the same symptoms. As that sense of unease starts to creep in, tell yourself that it’s anticipation; you’re gearing up for battle, and you have the tools and training to win. Don’t fight the feeling, just add depth to your understanding of it.
Fake it ’til you make it: When all else fails – break out your best acting skills. Check your posture, dress to impress, grin easily, and do whatever it is your favorite T. attorney would do. It may seem disingenuous, but part of your job is to project an image of being cool, confident, and collected. Study your mentors and try on some of the habits or personality traits that contribute to the parts of their demeanor that you admire. Go ahead and get into character before your courtroom performance.
Also, have faith in who you are – even if you feel slightly insecure, it’s unlikely that it’s as obvious as it feels when you’re experiencing it. There may even be a junior attorney emulating the very behaviors you’re so unsure about.
Although it doesn’t feel like it as it’s happening, a little anxiety is a good thing. Being nervous motivates you to prepare and brings a necessary consciousness to the task at hand. Appreciate the benefits of a sense of anticipation and remind yourself that you are a prepared professional taking on a challenge that you look forward to defeating. Dress and act the part, stand tall, breathe deep, know your facts, and remember why you chose this career path in the first place, and you’ll be conquering your court appearances in no time.
Get more advice on polishing up your presentations and appearances on the Boss Reporting Blog.
Boss Certified Realtime Reporting provides court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations, to dispositions and conferences. We’re accurate, fast, and in your corner. For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!