When dealing with anxiety and stress, one question you could ask yourself is ‘why does it matter’?
Why does it really matter if people can tell that you’re anxious?
Does it really matter if you’re understandably nervous during a big presentation or event?
The answer is probably not but the reason it impacts us is that it undermines our social standing. When you sound anxious or nervous, it suggests that you don’t have confidence in what you’re saying. In turn, this makes other people less likely to trust you and it makes them less likely to think of you as a good leader, as a good employee, or as someone they’d like to date. If someone is nervous around you, it suggests that they perceive you as their superior.
So you don’t necessarily need to be able to completely remove nerves – you just need to sound as though you don’t have any!
Here are some ways to do that…
When you speak more slowly, you instantly sound more eloquent, more confident and more intelligent. We tend to speed up the rate of our speech when we’re nervous, whereas taking our time shows that we’re confident that we’re able to hold other people’s attention.
What’s more, is that slowing down will instantly reduce the amount of stuttering and utterances such as ‘um’ and ‘err’. Slowing down also makes your voice sound deeper and in general, this is a far more effective way to create a commanding presence.
One of the key ways to improve your perceived charisma is to gesticulate more. When you speak with your body, it makes you more animated and it causes you to take up more space. This on its own is enough to make you more interesting to listen to and to observe and it’s enough to make you a more effective orator.
What’s more though, is that gesticulations also show that your body language is congruent with the content of what you’re saying. In short, you appear to really believe what you’re saying strongly and this makes you more engaging and it makes you appear more confident.
Hold Eye Contact
Using eye contact is a great way to hold attention and demonstrate confidence. Of course you mustn’t over do this but if you start your discussion while holding eye contact for a short time, you’ll be able to get your audience’s attention and keep it there.