How Do You Behave Under Stress?

April 26, 2018 | Rowena Crosbie

Rowena Crosbie, President, Tero International

How do you handle all your life demands and come off with a professional presence that exudes you have everything under control—even if you don’t?

No matter how busy we feel, it will jeopardize our professionalism to appear too busy. Dorothea Johnson, founder of the Protocol School of Washington, D.C., has wise advice on how to appear professional. She says, “In business, never run! Carry yourself elegantly to be perceived as competent.”

How would we look if the many competing events of the day made us so time conscious that we physically ran, not walked, from obligation to obligation? What message would we send if we found ourselves running in an environment that is looking to us for confident professionalism?

There are a lot of ways we might find ourselves running if we aren't careful.

 Think about it. Talking too fast and too much is an equivalent to what we communicate when we run. Acting without thinking calmly first, giving others abrupt responses, finishing others' sentences and physically appearing rushed, all give the message that there is trouble coping or handling what is on our plate.

Walking into a meeting room we communicate to others immediately whether we have presence. Walking slowly and assuredly, greeting others with eye contact, having a smile and saying "hello" communicates confidence immediately. It doesn't stop there.

To maintain professionalism, we can never let them see us sweat. Carry yourself with gracious confidence, even if you are not feeling that way on the inside. This preserves an essence of professionalism in any and every situation.

Your professional presence is established one interaction at a time. Slowing down is a tool can you plug and play today.

Rowena Crosbie is president at Tero International in Clive. You may email her at She is also co-author of “Your Invisible Toolbox: The Technological Ups and Interpersonal Downs of the Millennial Generation.”