Dear Latimer: More Answers to Your Questions

Hello friends! We recently added a new element to our website, where you can submit your communication questions directly to us. We will collect the questions, and either answer directly back to you, or when appropriate, publish a series of questions and our answers on our blog. Our goal here is to give you some quick support and answer your most pressing questions about the all-important skill of persuasive communication.

So, fire away with those questions, and we look forward to hearing from you. If you want to submit a question, look for the “Dear Latimer” box on the right side of the screen on our blog page.

Have a great day! ~Dean and Hannah

Dear Latimer,

I was in your workshop this week, and I want to come back to your discussion about anxiety. The anxiety I feel when I know I have to present is a really big deal. I have a hard time preparing, and when the presentation is about to happen, I get really short of breath, and I know everyone can tell that I am really nervous. Doing it virtually has not made it any better. Is there anything I can do? In my job, I have to present a lot. I need to deal with this.

  • Anonymous

Dear Anonymous.

We hear you. You are not alone, and as we tell everyone who comes to us with this topic, “you are part of a really big club.” Here is the real answer… there is no automatic solution, no magic words we can whisper in your ear, no magic dust we can sprinkle on the situation that will automatically solve the problem. But the good news is that there are some concrete steps you can take to minimize the impact of your anxiety.

The best way to think about it is like this: we can’t make your nerves go away; but we can help you so that your nerves don’t get in the way. So let’s talk about putting you back in control.

We think about anxiety management as a three-pronged strategy:

  1. Preparation. The vast majority of what we teach in our workshops is based on a standard process of preparation. There is no way around this… we will have an easier time managing anxiety if we know we are prepared. Being well prepared may not eliminate the anxiety, but we will have a much better chance of managing it when we are.
  2. Practice. This part also can’t be faked or shortchanged… how do we get better at anything? We have to practice. No way around this part either. Being well practiced may not eliminate the anxiety, but we will have a much better chance of managing it when we do.
  3. Management strategy. This part is really important. When we have anxiety about something, in addition to being prepared and well-practiced, we also need to have specific strategies that help put our heads in a better place. We always encourage everyone to create specific, step-by-step strategies to keep the train on the tracks. Some examples you could consider: deep breathing exercises; positive self talk; powerful body language rehearsals; reaching out to a trusted voice of confidence; some short, five-minute meditations. There are lots of things to think about. We have used all of them, but you have to try some things out and see what works best for you.

We will never minimize the impact of anxiety. We know this is a big deal, and there are people on our team that deal with this as well. But once we know we suffer from strong levels of anxiety, then we need to be intentional about how we will deal with it. The anxiety won’t manage itself. You have to take control, and manage its impact on you and your performance.

You are not alone. Good luck!

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.