Overcoming Communications Anxiety At Work
Communications anxiety is common, especially at work. Anxiety can stem from having a difficult conversation with your boss, or giving a presentation. Your heart starts to race, and you may fidget with your notes. The good news is, you are not alone in feeling this way. The even better news, is you can manage communications anxiety at work.
Our CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn, where she interviewed Public Speaking Coach | Soulcast Media, Rob Razzante.
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1. Recognize Your Anxiety
The first thing you can do when overcoming communications anxiety at work is to recognize your anxiety. When you recognize your triggers, thoughts, and how you respond, you can then work on managing the anxiety when it happens.
Consider the following:
- Triggers – To recognize your anxiety, you need to think about what triggers you. In other words, what happens right before you start to feel anxiety set in. For example, do you feel anxiety set in when you are asked to give a presentation? Or, do you feel anxiety when you are called into your boss’s office? Perhaps you feel the most anxiety when you are about to sit down for an interview. Think about what your triggers are. Once you’ve recognized them, you can begin to manage them.
- Thoughts – Your thoughts can cause you to have anxiety. For example, paralyzing thoughts prevent you from managing your anxiety. Thoughts like, “I am terrible at public speaking. I can’t talk to my boss. I am not a good speaker.” When you start to have these thoughts, write them down. Recognize what is running through your mind as you begin to feel anxious.
- Response – What is your response when you begin to feel anxious? For example, do you clench your jaw? During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, audience members said they started to sweat, had heart palpitations, their faces turned red, they spoke quickly, and their voices cracked. These are a few ways your body responds to anxiety. Be mindful of how your body responds to anxiety.
Recognizing your anxiety is the first step in managing your communications anxiety at work.
2. Remove Mental Barriers
Once you’ve recognized your anxiety, you need to remove any mental barriers preventing you from gaining communications confidence. In our e-course, The Art Of Communication, you will learn in-depth what mental barriers are and how you can remove them.
Consider the following:
- Life Script – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Rob talked about your life script and how this can be a mental barrier. For example, if you constantly tell yourself you are not a good swimmer, you probably won’t be a good one, because you become your thoughts. Instead, you can change your life script and say, “I am not a good swimmer now, but I can learn to become a better one.” Changing your life script will help you remove this mental barrier and overcome communications anxiety.
- Permission To Improve – You need to give yourself permission to improve. This means allowing yourself to fail, but not letting it stop you from improving. For example, giving a presentation at work gives you anxiety because it didn’t go well the last time you gave a presentation. Think about what didn’t go well, and give yourself permission to try again. You can make adjustments to what didn’t go well, and recognize your ability to do better next time.
- Audience – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica shared how you can manage your communications anxiety when you shift your focus from yourself to your audience. For example, think about how important it is for your audience to hear your message. Focus on what they need, rather than whether or not you will fail at giving your presentation. Shifting your focus to your audience will help you manage your anxiety.
In our e-course, Communicating With Confidence, you will learn how to develop a growth mindset around communicating.
Mental barriers can stop you from growing as a communicator. By removing these mental barriers, your communications confidence will grow.
3. Being Present
Anxiety is usually manifested physically. To manage your communications anxiety, it is helpful if you stay present. There are several exercises you can do to ensure you are staying present.
Consider the following:
- Breathing – Often, you will take shorter, more shallow breaths when you are anxious. This will only increase your anxiety, because you have less oxygen flowing. Breathing techniques can help calm and center your body. For example, taking a deep breath, holding your breath, and then slowly exhaling is one way to calm your nervous system and keep you present.
- Mindfulness – Being mindful is another way to stay in the moment. For example, use your five senses to help calm you. Think about what you can hear, see, smell, touch, and even taste, at the moment. By focusing on these things, you calm your nervous system, stay present, and take the focus off of how nervous or anxious you are.
- Redirect Energy – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica shared how she redirects her nervous energy to improve her speaking confidence. For example, she does this by channeling the anxious energy to help her talk loudly or help her bring upbeat energy to the room. Redirecting the anxious energy into positive energy will help you stay present and manage your communications anxiety.
💡 We recommend the e-course, “Mindfulness Practices” to learn how to build authentic relationships in the workplace.
Shifting your focus from how anxious you are to being present in the moment, will help calm your nerves, and give you more confidence.
Communications anxiety at work happens to everyone. However, recognizing your anxiety and removing those mental barriers will help you stay present and manage your anxiety.
If you want to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Rob’s conversation, check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel.
Do you want to learn how to overcome communications anxiety at work? Join our private communications group and level up with our expert guidance.
Sign up for the Soulcast Media Membership today!