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Quieting the Chaos in your Mind! Tips to help calm your mind before a big meeting.

Your heart is pounding. Your palms are sweaty. All of a sudden you wonder is that sweat radiating to your armpits also. Your thoughts are racing. Can I do this? Yes, it is the typical fear, anxiety, and nerves that hit right before that big departmental or team meeting or presentation during our careers! We have all been there! The National Social Anxiety Center (2017) reports that the fear of public speaking is one of the most common phobias. Most of us, as instructional designers or even other professionals, have felt that fear right before that big event. Our bodies and mind become overly stressed. The anxiety of it all radiates throughout our bodies. So, how do we calm the chaos, anxiety, and nerves going on within our own minds?

The following are tips which can be useful to help calm the fear, anxiety, and nerves that can go on within our professional careers.

  1. Get to know your audience a little Getting to know one's audience can allow for a more relaxed feeling during delivery. Think about it. Would you rather deliver to an audience you know nothing about or would you rather deliver to an audience you can engage because you have taken the time to do the research on? Taking the time to get to know your audience will allow you to tailor your presentation toward the audience. Also, getting to know your audience before a meeting can show those present you have taken the time to learn about your colleagues. Bonus!

  2. Be organized Being organized has been proven to both reduce stress and minimize anxiety (NSAC, 2017). Being organized includes knowing your material, practicing the material, and showing up prepared and ready. The more you practice the more confident you will become. Speak clearly. Take pauses and breathe. Make your presentation or meeting memorable!

  3. Relax your mind and body Before presenting or attending a meeting, take some time to relax your mind and your body. This can include going for a short walk, doing some yoga, listening to music, reading positive affirmations, or participating in breathing techniques such as deep breathing exercises. Breathing techniques have been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate associated with high stress levels as well as calm anxiety/nerves and the mind. By relaxing the body and mind, your audience will also feel more relaxed!

  4. Be confident Being confident seems to always be easier said than done for a lot of people in the professional world. We often get trapped in believing we are not very good at what we do. Believing in yourself is the first step in being confident! Staying positive is also another avenue in which to exude confidence. We all have experienced that little voice inside our heads telling us we are not prepared or will bomb the presentation. If you notice this happening, REFUSE to listen! Re-frame that to positive self-talk and keep saying that to yourself until you believe it!

By practicing these tips, as well as finding your own that may work for you, you will be on your way to a more confident relaxed self before meetings and presentations. So, what are you waiting for let's practice less chaos and exude more calm in our profession!

Reference: NSAC, (2017). "Public speaking anxiety and fear of brain freezes." Retrieved February 4, 2024.



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