Do you get nervous when you think about your future career? Perhaps these concerns stop you from performing your best or reaching for something bigger? This week is the UK’s ‘Face Your Fears Week’ and it’s time to let go of those hang ups.
As part of the awareness-raising campaign, the Forward Role team have been conducting our own research into common professional fears. We asked people up and down the UK to confess what scares them the most in the workplace and the results showed a common theme!
A staggering 40% of respondents revealed that public speaking was their biggest fear. This was the most common answer across each age category, and both men & women suffered from this fear fairly equally (41% and 39% respectively).
Also high on the list was interviews. Unsurprisingly, this was a common answer from our respondents, but what was surprising was the variation in age categories.
Whilst the younger 18-24 category shared this fear (17%), it was actually the 44-54 year olds who chose this answer the most (21%). Many would perhaps assume that younger professionals are more likely to fear interviews, due to the tough job market and lack of experience. However, it seems that the older category possibly have more on their shoulders when it comes to important interviews.
Ultimately, everyone has concerns about their career, whether it’s voicing grievances to your superior (10%) or performance reviews (9%). So how do we get over these barriers and continue our journey to success? We asked experienced company managers and directors who’ve been in your shoes to share the secrets of how they overcame their own career fears.
On public speaking...
Steve Thompson, Managing Director at Forward Role Recruitment: “The only way to overcome that fear is to force yourself to do as much public speaking as you can. The idea being that each time you do it you get a little more confident.”
Lucy Whitehall, Wellbeing Consultant at CABA: “Remember that you’re the only one who knows your speech. While you may make a couple of small errors, if you keep going with confidence it’s unlikely anybody will realise. Let go of perfectionism, your audience will respect the authenticity of one or two minor mistakes.”
Rob Mead, Marketing Manager at Parcel2Go: “Practice, practice and even more practice! Know what you’re going to say and do your research around your topic, nothing gets the nerves going like the knowledge that you’re underprepared.”
On nailing that job interview…
Alison Hart, Marketing Manager at Forward Role Recruitment: “The older we get the more perspective we have on life, which enables us to realise that one bad interview or poor presentation really isn’t the end of the world. If we can rationalise in this way it does help with the nerves and allows us to try to enjoy the experience.
“If your interview has been arranged by an agency, talk to your consultant, they will have met your interviewer and will be able to give you valuable tips about the person, their personality and maybe even a common interest, which could provide an icebreaker for you!”
Steve Thompson, Managing Director at Forward Role Recruitment: “What causes the most fear in candidates is the dent to their ego that a ‘no’ might produce. A good way to overcome this is for candidates to view the interview as a two-way process. They too are interviewing the interviewer to see if they want to work with the business.”