Annual performance reviews come just once a year, yet many employees find themselves unprepared and quite anxious as they are called into their manager's office for their dreaded conversation about performance and compensation. A performance review doesn't have to send you into a bout of anxiety. There are plenty of ways to impress your boss and ensure success in your next performance review. Here is a look at five ways you can ensure success in your next performance review.

Perform a Self-Evaluation
Many companies require their employees to complete a self-evaluation prior to receiving their annual performance review. A self-evaluation requires employees to identify their strengths and weaknesses in their current position. Self-evaluations often ask an employee to rate him- or herself on a scale and then provide additional details about his or her performance on the job. A self-evaluation is an excellent opportunity for employees to elaborate on any skills their employers may not know about, sum up the achievements and struggles experienced throughout the year, and set realistic goals for next year.

Don't be Defensive
Many people walk into an annual performance review with a defensive attitude. Rather than immediately preparing yourself for the worst case scenario, maintain a calm demeanor, and be prepared to communicate openly with your manager. If you performed your job to the best of your ability, maintained good attendance and punctuality, and have a good rapport with your employer, you should walk into your performance review with confidence and a sense of irreplaceability. If your manager has something negative or constructive to say, take it in stride, and take a mental note so that you know how to improve your performance in the future.

Walk in with a Positive Attitude
Having a positive attitude can make a big difference when walking into a performance review. Ultimately, performance reviews identify areas where you can improve while targeting possible career advancement opportunities. Even if you receive constructive criticism, maintain a positive attitude. Constructive criticism identifies exactly what you need to do to succeed in your job. No one is perfect, and your performance review will identify how you can improve your job performance.

Go to Your Performance Review Prepared
Prior to attending your performance review, prepare yourself with some vital information such as your job description and responsibilities, any mid-year reviews and goals, a list of all of your accomplishments for the calendar year, and any other information that could be a speaking point during your conversation with your manager. By preparing yourself, you will be ready to answer any questions that management may have, and if anything in your review sounds incorrect, you will be ready to discuss it with your manager.

Try Not to Focus on the Financial Aspect
Most people acknowledge that a vital aspect of a performance evaluation is learning whether or not an employee will receive a raise. While many employees would love to get right down to the financial details, most managers will want to review your performance first before discussing what your financial compensation will be. Rather than simply zeroing in on the compensation piece of your performance review, listen carefully to what your manager is saying, answer any questions that he or she may have, and handle the financial details at the end of your meeting.

The Bottom Line
A performance review does not need to be a stress-inducing event. A performance review is designed to identify strengths and weaknesses so that a realistic career goal can be set for the next year. Going into a performance review with a positive attitude and high level of confidence allows your meeting to flow smoothly, and you can learn how you can develop your skills and improve your strengths.

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