Do you feel nervous before you turn on your zoom camera?
Are you worried about how you look or what you’ll say?
You are not alone! A recent study out of Nova Scotia found 64% of Employees Suffer Anxiety from Excessive Zoom Meetings!
Wow, that’s a lot!
If anxiety is gripping almost two thirds of us who are in online meetings, how can you decrease your anxiety before you get into that room?
In this short blog, I am going to show you some very simple things you can do to help turn down the stress and turn up your Creative Genius to bring more of yourself to the meeting you are in.
The first time I ever took the stage to perform a play, I was 9 years old. I wanted to be in the play and I was super happy to land a tiny part, but I had no idea what to do. I yelled my lines, I over acted and to put it bluntly, I was terrible. The volunteer school director tried to coach me but ended up simply yelling at me. After two weeks, I quit, I was so humiliated and depressed. What’s fascinating is that from that day forward, I have had to combat my anxiety before any live performance.
As a keynote speaker, clients who hire me often suggest I use the stage the night before my talk to practice. I absolutely HATE this. The client is standing there and the dog and pony show begins. I have had to work with my anxiety so that I can be calm enough to do what it takes to show up and bring my best. All this to say, while I am an accomplished facilitator, speaker, MC and performer, I got your back with this stage fright stuff.
Here are some the most common things that participants felt contributed to their zoom anxiety:
- embarrassment over what can be seen in their backgrounds.
- self-consciousness over physical appearance on camera.
- feelings of peer pressure to have cameras on.
- the fear of embarrassing disruptions by family members or pets at home.
- being constantly distracted by other meeting expressions or movements during the meeting.
FEAR is a major derailer in this new online world. Fear of being judged, of not having enough, not being in control of your household, fear of how you look or what people think. It’s like the lights come up, the video goes on and BOOM! Show up!
But showing up is hard if you don’t have the initial confidence and belief in yourself that you can do this. You must believe that what you have to say matters, that you are good enough, smart enough, dressed well enough. In my early years as a change management trainer, I spent most of my time helping those trainers to build their confidence. Because confidence is key to success no matter what you are doing.
How do you build your confidence in virtual meetings?
I have 3 go to shirts I always wear. Most of us think that people will notice that we wore that shirt the day before. Guess what? People will not notice and your favorite dress up shirts are going to help you feel more confident.
Take a deep breath and set your intent
Good things take preparation, why shouldn’t your presence take a little time too? Take a moment, put your feet flat on the floor, close your eyes, take a deep breath and imagine the best possible outcome – you showing up 100%, everyone valuing your comments, and your leadership noted. Write these things down on a piece of paper so as you go through the meeting, you have a reminder nearby.
It’s a simple little thing, but communication is 25% verbal and 75% non verbal!!! So your smile invites people to come closer, to want to hear what you say. It shows that you appreciate you and they’ll want to get to know you better. Great leaders don’t yell (unless they are insecure) they beam enthusiasm and possibility.
Many zoom meetings will require you to use the chat, to introduce yourself in one word, or say something no one knows about you. So understand and practice using the technology in advance. There are a TON of common icebreakers that you can come up with answers for and practice with, right here.
There is nobody in the world like you. You are the secret sauce that makes the collaborative meal delicious. Know this and carry that confidence into every single moment. If you need to, write it down on a 3×5 card and put it right where you can see it.
Every moment online is an opportunity for you to build your confidence, it just requires you perceive it that way. Online meetings are not going away any time soon, so now is the time to hone your skills and build your confidence. The only way you will sense and build confidence is to track your progress. Keep a journal that tracks your meetings online and also helps you know what worked for you, so you can continue to increase your skill and comfort in the online space.
In summary, fear is the number one challenge most of us face when showing up in online meetings. To become the 36% without anxiety here’s your checklist:
- Dress up – make sure you are comfortable AND look your best
- Take a deep breath and set your intent – intention predicts outcome
- Smile – it makes your more approachable and changes your body chemistry
- Be prepared – preparation is key to success
- Be yourself – there’s no better person to bring!