Today’s Solutions: June 13, 2024

By now you’ve probably heard it a million times: public speaking is the most common fear amongst people. But with a few changes to your approach to public speaking, you can shake off the nerves that come with speaking before huge crowds and succeed under pressure. Without further ado, here are three in-the-moment ways to avoid caving under pressure.

First strategy: redirect your mind. When you’re preparing for an intimidating presentation or a big meeting, it feels natural to rehearse your points right before you enter the room. Unfortunately, this tends to backfire. Instead, use the five minutes before any big event to focus on something else. By redirecting your mind to a different focal point, you can send signals to your nervous system that it’s time to calm down, rather than the opposite.

Second strategy: repeat a one-word mantra. Another way to redirect your mind is to focus on one hyper-specific word or phrase. Apparently, when you’re waiting for the big moment to arrive, you send your prefrontal cortex into overdrive and cause yourself to feel stress. Focusing on a specific phrase in advance can counteract that cognitive response. If saying a one-word mantra isn’t for you, try singing a song.

Third strategy: reframe your physical symptoms. If you usually dread your body’s physiological responses to stress — from the sweaty palms to the fast heartbeat — try reframing them. You’ll be surprised to find that you will benefit from acknowledging them and seeing them differently. For instance, if you’re hands are sweating before giving a speech, see it as a sign that you are excited and ready for the challenge that lies ahead. After all, research has shown that just a little bit of stress can propel you forward, and encourage you to succeed when the nerves kick in.

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