Friday, February 27, 2009

what's the opposite of anxiety?

This question was posed in a recent search that brought a reader to the Eloquent Woman--and, while I've covered research on keeping your cool in public presentation settings, this is a question that begs for input. Here's my take on what's the opposite to anxiety:

  • Calm. This is the internal part: Doing what centers and calms you in anticipation of a speech--which, for most folks, is the most unnatural of settings--can counterbalance anxiety. Too many speakers fail to take a few moments to breathe, stretch and center their focus before a talk. (Find a handy stairwell or hallway for this purpose.)
  • Care. Are you well-rested? Hydrated? Fed? (I've had trainees faint in speaker training without breakfast, or get to foreign countries and find no available food before a talk--so tote protein bars, if you must, but fuel up.) Wearing comfortable shoes? Stretched out? Care of the speaker is a critical part of avoiding anxiety, in my view.
  • Collected. We use this as a term for calm, but I mean collecting all the things you may need in advance of your speech: notes, text, handwritten cues on your speech, a box to stand on if you're shorter than the lectern, a Yellow Pages to prop up your text if you need it closer to your eyes...whatever. Gather your props, aids and helps ahead and you'll feel that much more prepared.

Let me ask you: When you speak, what's the 'opposite of anxiety?' Define it for us in the comments.