There’s only one thing that’s certain; the fact that nothing is ever certain. Do you know how to respond in critical situations at work? From a robbery at the office, an employee getting sick, to a PowerPoint not working… unexpected issues are bound to occur from time to time in the workplace. It’s important to learn to control what you can control, and remain poised and professional when things you cannot control occur.

Obviously, the term “expect the unexpected” is contradictory. What this term really means is to improve your situational awareness. Always have a plan in place for issues to occur. Try to anticipate possible problems and have a backup plan or a safety plan. For example, if you are leaving for work during rush hour, you can anticipate that there may be a wreck or traffic delays and leave early. Similarly, if you are presenting on a call, you can expect a member of the audience may forgot to mute their microphone. Have a plan in place, like muting the audience yourself. In every situation, try to always have a plan B in place in case something out of the ordinary occurs.

Of course, different environments or positions carry unique risks and call for different precautions, and depending on your position, you will have different roles to play. But, one rule remains consistent across all situations and positions: do not panic! Keep your cool, stay calm, and remain poised. The better you handle these situations, the better your colleagues and leaders will perceive your professionalism. Many issues can easily be played off if you do not sell yourself out by freaking out if something usual pops up.