Are you biting your nails in anticipation of the Monday-morning roundtable? Here’s how to defeat your nerves and slay your next meeting!

Got meeting anxiety? Let’s be real: who doesn’t?

Most of us learn to live with anxiety at work, but meetings are a common place to struggle, even if you're otherwise pretty functional. At 9 AM, you're in no position to sit still and look like you're paying attention to the information you'd REALLY rather read in an email or text.

If you feel paralyzed by the thought of speaking up, then the dread from waiting your turn can make the entire gathering unpleasant. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

We get meeting anxiety—been there, done that. And luckily, there’s actually a lot you can do to control nervousness before a get-together.

Here are five ways to reign in those pre-meeting jitters:

#1: Find opportunities to practice

The more you do something, the more comfortable you get with it—and that holds true for speaking up during meetings. Find ways to put yourself into public-speaking situations, including:

  • Public-speaking groups likeToastmasters
  • Telling a story in front of a few friends at a party
  • Introducing yourself to strangers and practicing making conversation

Let's face it; you'll probably be uncomfortable the first few times you put yourself in this situation. But the more you practice, the more comfortable it will become. Before you know it, you could be speaking up in meetings without even thinking about it!

#2: Put an end to avoidance behaviors

You might not even know that you have avoidance behaviors, but most people with anxiety do. Some avoidance behaviors you might engage in before or during a meeting may include:

  • Overpreparing (e.g., obsessively writing out every potential question and answer you could encounter)
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Covering your mouth when you speak

If any of those sound familiar, you could be engaging in avoidance, which doesn't help your anxiety problem. Don't overprepare. Of course it’s good to be ready, but you should trust yourself enough to know that you don’t need an exhaustive list of questions to get through a plain ol’ meeting.

As for avoiding eye contact or covering your mouth, try to notice when you’re doing that and stop yourself. Again, it will feel uncomfortable at first. But soon, you’ll be giving away eye contact like Oprah!

#3: Slay meeting anxiety by practicing active listening

Active listening is a great all-around skill, and it can specifically help with meeting anxiety. It takes your mind off of your worries and helps you look engaged because you are.

When you practice active listening, you give your full attention to the speaker by:

  • Being neutral and nonjudgmental
  • Being patient (you don’t rush to fill pauses)
  • Asking relevant questions
  • Asking for clarification
  • Reflecting back what the speaker says to them (this one depends on the meeting size; it's useful in small meetings but less so in large ones where everyone doesn’t take a turn to speak)

The more you practice active listening during a meeting, the better you’ll feel while doing it.

#4: Prepare enough (but not too much!)

Don’t leave essential stones unturned! Use your time wisely before a meeting to make sure you feel confident about how it will go.

Again, don’t prepare to an unreasonable degree: you don’t need to write a 40-page whitepaper that summarizes every potential direction. But you should at least cover all of the basics.

These can include:

  • Reading about issues that might come up during the meeting
  • Having a quick pre-meeting phone call with someone who makes you feel relaxed and balanced, like a friend or loved one
  • Wearing clothes that look professional and make you feel like a million bucks
  • Getting there 10 minutes early, so you have time to think and unwind (or make conversation with other meeting attendees)

#5: Pop a couple of pre-meeting CBD gummies

Last but not least, try stowing some of our Vegan AF CBD gummies for anxiety in your work bag. They’re not just for chillaxing! Because they use broad-spectrum CBD that contains no psychoactive THC, you don’t have to worry about getting any work-inappropriate feels.

In a work gathering, broad-spectrum CBD can help you:

  • Concentrate on the topic at hand
  • Get out of your own head
  • Keep your composure
  • Slow racing thoughts

Together with other strategies—like doing just enough prep or avoiding your avoidance behaviors—CBD can be a valuable tool for beating team-meeting jitters. And it’s not like gummies are your only option… tinctures are also super easy and compact for use at work.

Featured Article: What Does CBD Feel Like?

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