What do stage fright and “anxiety reappraisal” have in common?
They are two sides of the same coin.
Stage fright is the problem and “anxiety reappraisal” is the solution.
According to Alison Wood Brooks’ 2014 paper in the Journal of Experimental Psychology those who turn anxiety into excitement give better speeches.
Steli Efti, co-founder and CEO of Close, writes for Inc. Magazine, that anxiety reappraisal “helps you see scary things as opportunities.”
How do you do this? To reappraise your anxiety, tell yourself, “I am excited” rather than “I’m nervous.”
When you tell yourself how miserable you are, you are turning your nerves inward. You minimize the positive effects of anxiety and maximize the negative effects.
Similarly, when you tell yourself “I’m calm” this journal study explains that you also lose out on the positive effects of anxiety! Yes, this feels counterintuitive. You might be saying to yourself before your presentation, “Please, relax! Calm down!” BUT calmness is “low excitement” and you want “high excitement”.
So, how do you get to “high excitement” without High Fear?
Shift HOW you think about your fear. Reframe from “I’m nervous” to “I’m excited” and then USE this energy to fuel your voice, your smile, your energy, and your animation.
I always tell my clients that nervousness equals adrenaline that in turn equals energy. You want to be nervous. Try this simple method to transfer your negative gremlins to a source of power.
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Karen Cortell Reisman, MS, Executive Communication Author & Speaker