You’re waiting in a long line at the grocery store. I mean the place is packed! Suddenly, a cute gal (or guy) stands in line behind you. You’re attracted to her; you know it.
You want to talk to her, so you decide to give it a go.
But what to say? You think through possible beginnings, trying to get it just right. You almost turn to her 5 times.
Now your heart is racing, your palms sweaty. You’re jittery.
There’s no way you could chat to her like this! If you only knew how to stop over-thinking everything.
Arrrgh! Blasted social anxiety strikes again.
What if you could use this anxiety to your advantage? What if you could turn it around to make your first words compelling instead of FREAKING OUT?
I actually learned to do exactly that from years of public speaking. Here’s how:
Why You Should Be Happy You Feel Anxiety
I spoke in front of crowds in one form or another for about 8 years. Two of which I also attended Toastmasters public speaking groups. And while it got easy to jump in front of an audience, those jitters never fully went away.
As you can imagine, getting up and speaking in front of 100’s or 1000’s of people can be pretty intimidating. If you’re not used to it, you sorta freak out and think, “why did I get myself into this?”
But guess what?
That’s a good thing.
If you’re a public speaker, you should be worried if you…well aren’t worried anymore. Because if you don’t have some sort of anxiety, you probably don’t care anymore.
There’s no fear because you’re apathetic. That’s not good for your performance because you probably won’t put any emotion into it.
Great Conversations Come From Enthusiasm & Excitement (Just Not Too Much)
In public speaking, emotion is important, especially the emotion of excitement. Excitement and enthusiasm transfers from you to your audience and keeps them engaged.
So, I learned to embrace my anxiety! Anxiety is power because I learned how to reframe it as excitement.
The same principles hold true for meeting new people. You don’t want to be completely devoid of fear. That would mean you’re devoid of enthusiasm and your interactions would be bland.
But on the other hand, unchecked nervous energy makes you, well…nervous. It’s easy to come off like a bumbling idiot in that state. So, here is a process I used in public speaking to reframe anxiety into excitement. Use it to do the same for your social anxiety so you feel more confident in conversation.
5 Step Process to Turn Anxiety into Positive Excitement
- Accept Your Anxiety – Most people want to cure anxiety or deny they’re feeling it. But here’s the thing, fighting it only makes it stronger. It’s how you feel and there’s nothing wrong with that. You’re a human being in a situation uncomfortable to you. It’s natural to have some fear. So just say to yourself, “I’m feeling anxious right now, but I can accept that. It’s ok. I can still function even with this anxiety. I don’t have to try and get rid of it.”
- Take a Few Deep Breaths – I know you’ve heard this one before, but how often do you actually do it? Quite simply, it helps to calm you down and take your mind off negative thoughts.
- Tense and Relax Your Arms/Legs – You can do this in any setting and no one will notice. This helps get the shakes out of your body by releasing that trapped nervous energy.
- Re-Frame Anxiety as Excitement – Remember, you’re anxious because you care. This interaction is important to you and there’s nothing wrong with that. So to refocus that nervous energy, again don’t hide from it. Go into it. Really feel it’s power and potential. But instead of thinking negative thoughts, think about that energy giving you a bounce in your step. Think about it giving you the juice for an infectious smile and to say an enthusiastic, “Hey, how’s it going?” to that cutie behind you. Re-define the feeling as an enthusiasm to do well. Just thinking in terms of your nervousness being a positive, useful energy helps to make it so.
- Go For It – No matter what you do, if you wait too long, your excitement will turn back into nervousness. So give yourself to the count of 3 and just go for it while you’re in a positively excited state. That’s a much better place to start from than where you were before.
Finally, one other major factor to reducing anxiety before a speech was being prepared. So, if you don’t feel you know what to do or say in conversation, then it’s understandable you feel nervous.
So if you want some tips on how to improve socially and be more confident, CLICK HERE for Free videos on social success.
Best of luck!