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How to Get Your Stage Fright to Work FOR You

by | Dec 13, 2017

“I travel between Asia and USA once every 2 – 3 weeks. In fact, I’m in Hong Kong right now. I speak internationally,” began my conversation with an investor this morning. “What caused you to reach out to my organization?” I asked.

“Once I get into a room of 40 to 50 – the first 5 minutes are pretty shaky. I want to improve,” he replied.

Welcome to my world – where we work with top achievers who are freaking out about public speaking.

Recently I came across some research on how to get speaking anxiety to cooperate and perhaps even enhance presentation performance.

According to Jeremy Jamieson, Wendy Mendes & Matthew Nock in their research titled, Improving Acute Stress Responses: The Power of Reappraisal, there CAN be a shift from a negative to positive outcome when faced with performance stress.

The key ingredient: REFRAMING.

Jamieson, Mendes and Nock assert, “Arousal reappraisal instructs individuals to think of stress arousal as a tool that helps maximize performance. By reframing the meaning of the physiological signals that accompany stress, arousal reappraisal breaks the link between negative affective experiences and malignant physiological responses.”

IF you reframe stress as a challenge rather than a threat then your body and mind respond in a positive versus negative way.

Adversity as a Threat:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Expectation of defeat
  • Helplessness that leads to avoidance

Adversity as a Challenge:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Stable blood pressure
  • Expectation of competency
  • Self-efficacy that leads to engagement

In my conversation this morning with my prospect I continued, “We cannot alleviate speaker stage fright. But we can work on how to make your anxiety work for you and not against you.”

This research suggests that your heart rate still goes up, but other physical/mental reactions can be constructive. The art of reframing creates a cognitive shift towards that positive outcome.

Source: Jeremy P. Jamieson, Matthew K. Nock, and Wendy Berry Mendes. Changing the Conceptualization of Stress in Social Anxiety Disorder: Affective and Physiological ConsequencesClinical Psychological Science, April 8, 2013. Improving Acute Stress Responses: The Power of Reappraisal Jeremy P. Jamieson, Wendy Berry Mendes, and Matthew K. Nock, Department of Psychology, University of Rochester; Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco; and Department of Psychology, Harvard University

© 123RF Stock Photo

© Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 3 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with decision makers on how to speak with gravitas. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Karen also speaks about her cousin, Albert Einstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.

Read more at www.SpeakForYourself.com/blog.

Did you know that we also work 1:1 with decision makers on overcoming the fear of public speaking? Click here: https://www.karencortellreisman.com/seminar-what-i-didnt-say.html 



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