Pressure Solution #21 – Your First Advantage

The only requirement for using this pressure solution is that you be in a situation in which you are able to choose when you want to perform — first, second, third, or last. It could be in a staff meeting with your boss who says, “I want to hear from all of you.” It might be a potential client who says to you and your competitors, “You all have two minutes to pitch your idea.” Or an audition where the performers are given a choice in terms of who reads first.

If you follow conventional wisdom, you might sit back and see how others do, to get a feel for the situation. This is a good strategy if you want to increase the pressure you feel. But you are likely to perform below your capability. If you want to depressurize the moment, then:


The “first advantage” is seen in many other competitive situations as well. In one study, researchers investigated how individuals’ performances of a cognitive task in a high-pressure competition were affected by their peers’ performances. Data from the National Spelling Bee showed that when the immediate predecessor was correct, a speller had a much greater probability of making a mistake than if the predecessor was incorrect.

Besides helping you depressurize the moment, there is another advantage to going first, one that can give you an edge in a competitive situation: You put more pressure on those who go after you.


This is an excerpt from Performing Under Pressure.




JP Pawliw-Fry is co-author of the New York Times bestselling book, Performing Under Pressure. He is keynote speaker, and the founder of IHHP, a global research and learning company that specializes in helping organizations and leaders leverage the science of emotional intelligence and performing under pressure.  The research and strategies presented in the book, keynotes and in HHP’s training programs have been leveraged by numerous Fortune 100 companies, including long-term relationships with Johnson and Johnson, PWC, Goldman Sachs, HSBC as well as Olympic medal winning athletes. (Co-author: Hendrie Weisinger.) 


3d.pressure book cover-GTWABOUT THE BOOK

Co-authored by our own J.P. Pawliw-Fry, Performing Under Pressure will introduce you to the concept of pressure management, offering the latest science on how your brain responds under pressure, and many empirically tested strategies to help you overcome the sabotaging effects of pressure. For this book, we undertook a multiyear study of over twelve thousand people to answer the question: what is it about the top 10 percent of these individuals that helps them handle pressure more effectively and be successful? The book has been featured in featured in Forbes, INC., The Financial Times, Training Magazine and many more, and is a NYT and Amazon bestseller. Order your copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Audible or Apple ibooks.


Buy the book here!