Do You Get Nervous Speaking in Meetings? How to Overcome the Anxiety

Nerves can be a debilitating problem for many people. Business presentations, staff meetings and simply making a speech at an employee’s leaving party can be a daunting prospect. If you get nervous speaking in meetings, there are common methods that can be used to help overcome this problem.

a woman in business wear speaking in a meeting

Anxiety Giving Presentations & Speaking in Meetings is Normal

Speaking in front of a large group of people can be a fearful prospect for many people. It is very common that the pressure when presenting or speaking in meetings can lead to nerves and even anxiety attacks.

The flight or fight response will often kick in as adrenaline rushes into the body when excessive stress occurs. There are many different reasons why people encounter increased nerves during business meetings.

But anxiety problems can be conquered by following a few simple methods. Here are a few useful tips to calm those nerves before you present!

Breathing Exercises to Overcome Business Meeting Nerves

It seems simple, but deep breathing is often cited as one of the best ways to overcome nerves during business meetings.

It’s known that people who suffer from a speech impediment such as a stammer can use a set of breathing exercises to conquer the problem.

Adrenaline will cause the heart rate to increase and will cause shallow breaths meaning less oxygen. Consciously slowing your breathing rate will help. Slow breaths will calm the body and slow the speaker’s heart rate.

Speak First During Business Meetings and Presentations

People who suffer from nerves can sometimes find the problem increases if they have to wait a long time before they have to speak.

Many people who do suffer public speaking nerves do not encounter the same problem if they are simply allowed to speak as soon as possible. If there is a list of speakers have a word with whoever is organising the meeting and ask to talk first.

Having to wait for other people to talk can increase nerves and the pressure felt by the speaker. This is similar to simply jumping in and ‘getting it over with’ but it can make a difference to nerves during a business meeting or presentations.

Do Adequate Research before a Business Meeting

Being fully prepared and knowledgeable before a business meeting can help to conquer nerves. There is nothing worse than having to bluff your way through a business meeting.

Other co-workers at the meeting will usually be able to pick up on the fact that the speaker is waffling, reverting to business jargon and is inadequately prepared.

A bored or confused looking audience will only increase the pressure of the situation. If the speaker is adequately prepared it will help to make the business meeting more enjoyable.

Rehearse and Visualise the Business Meeting

Stage a mock business meeting a few days before the actual business meeting. This means reading out aloud the intended business speech and visualising the people who are to be at the meeting if possible.

Memorising as much of the speech as possible is a good idea; this will also avoid shuffling through notes. Memorise the opening of the speech on the day of the meeting to ensure that it is fresh.

Fear of the unknown is a big factor with nerves, and rehearsal and visualisation will help to conquer this.

Eliminate Irrational Fears to Overcome Nerves

Many people suffer from irrational fears before public speaking or even simply speaking during a business meeting.

The speaker will often visualise the negatives such as everyone is staring at them and hoping for some embarrassing slip up.

The reality will usually be far from this scenario; a business meeting is simply the passing on of information and ideas with everyone having a say.

Irrational fears can be overcome by looking at the positives and realising that these fears in themselves are not rational and are simply part of the fight or flight response.

Top Ways to Overcome Business Meeting Nerves

The most common and successful ways to conquer business meeting nerves include:

  • Deep breathing before talking at a business meeting.
  • Rehearse and visualise the business meeting and prepare adequately.
  • Make sure to hydrate properly and drink water during the meeting to avoid dry mouth.
  • Relax and shake out the nerves before going into a meeting.
  • Massaging pressure points such as the forehead will help the flow of blood to the brain.
  • Exude confidence even if you do not feel confident and remember to smile.
  • Avoid substances such as cigarettes and coffee before meetings.

A great number of people do eventually manage to conquer business meeting nerves. Experience will usually help to make the business meeting scenario less daunting.

Nerves are expected and are not unusual but some people do suffer from excessive nerves and anxiety. It will usually take only a few successful business meetings to eventually calm those nerves.

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