The following is advice on how to manage anxiety associated with typical situations and tasks within a business environment. These may also be useful to you during your studies.
Delivering a Presentation
There aren’t many people who won’t feel anxious prior to executing a presentation. However, some people may find the whole experience more difficult than others. Suggested ways you can manage anxiety brought on by delivering a presentation include:
- Practice makes perfect – Practising the presentation enough times will help you to feel more relaxed about it. It’s important not to practice too little or too much. You want to know what you’re saying and when you’re saying it, but you don’t want the presentation to take over and practice it repeatedly, as this will just add to already existing stress. Also, you may find it useful to practice in front of someone or a few people. They may provide valuable feedback and help put you at ease.
- Prepare well – Write notes on cards acting as prompts to help you remember what to say. It’d be difficult attempting to memorise a whole presentation as it is, even without the anxiety you may be experiencing. Furthermore, make sure you fully understand what exactly you are presenting and your PowerPoint is working correctly.
- Get a feel for it – If possible, visit the room in which you’ll be presenting. Try to figure out issues such as where the best place to stand is and how loud you will need to speak. This will help you feel more familiar with your surroundings and therefore more comfortable when you come to present.
- Familiar faces – Try and find your closest class/workmates in the audience while you’re presenting. Familiar faces of people who know and support you will help you to feel more relaxed and at ease during your presentation. However, try not to stare too much at your friends. Remember you’re presenting to a room full of interested individuals.
Meeting deadlines is crucial to both student and university life. Ways to cope with anxiety surrounding meeting a deadline comprise of:
- Prepare – Make sure you are fully aware of what it is you need to do. Look at and make note of resources that may be useful to you. Start to form a plan of what different tasks need completing and when they need completing by. This will make it a lot easier for you when it comes to progressing with your task.
- Start early – Try to start on your task as early as possible. Putting everything off and doing it last minute will only add to your anxiety. It will be beneficial to you to start making progress early. This will help to ensure you finish your task within the given deadline which will ultimately enable you to feel more relaxed about the whole situation.
- Don’t procrastinate – It’s really important to stay fully focused on the task at hand. Procrastinating will only make things worse in the long-term. You could end up running out of time and submitting an incomplete or rushed task. One way to reduce procrastination could be to put your phone on silent or move it completely out of view. You may find this challenging initially, but ultimately it will help to prevent distractions.
- Form relationships – Form friendly, effective relationships with your tutors/team leaders. Getting to know these people early on in a task is a lot more effective than seeking their advice on issues a matter of days before a deadline. You may find this difficult, however it will end up being more than worth it. This will allow you to feel more comfortable as you will have a better idea of what you need to do as well as knowing help is at hand, should you need it.
Working in Groups
Working as part of a group is also necessary in higher education and the workplace. Ways to deal with anxiety when working in a group include:
- Get to know people – You may find it too challenging to talk to a whole group at once – most people would. Try to get to know each member of your group on an individual basis. For example, you could do this by talking to a group member who is using a machine near you. Knowing your peers individually will help you feel more comfortable when you all come together.
- Know what to say – Come up with a plan of what issues you will raise beforehand and arrange meetings with group members in advance. This will ensure your group members are in the appropriate mindset when it comes to meeting with you. Also, predicting how your group members may respond to the issues you raise will help to deal with any disagreements that may occur.
- Arrive early – Try to show up around 15 minutes before group meetings. If you are feeling anxious, you may be tempted to arrive at a meeting just as it is starting in order to avoid small-talk with your group. However, it would be more beneficial to you if you arrive early. Similar to the first point, it will allow you to talk to members of your group as individuals and therefore help you feel like you belong.
- OK to say no – You can’t please everyone all of the time. For example, a member of your group wants you to help with their task, but you are far too busy with what you have to do. Simply say you can’t help them at the moment and explain why. They may initially feel disappointed. However, if they are a good team player, they should understand that what you are doing is best for the whole group. This will help to prevent you putting too much pressure on yourself.