What do you do to fight pitch anxiety?

over 5 years ago from , Writer, Creator, etc.

We recently published a post on how to fight pitch anxiety, and I'm curious if anyone has other ways they deal with it. I feel like it's expected that you just buck up and communicate your work, but should companies be more involved in helping employees communicate and present their work? Should they provide workshops or training on communication, public speaking, etc.?

Would love to hear your ideas!

You can see the full post here: https://medium.com/wake-blog/how-to-deal-with-pitch-anxiety-f3b346ec0eec


  • Esther Schindler, over 5 years ago

    There's different kinds of pitching. Public speaking is only one of them. I suck at public speaking, but I'm very good with words. So I try to arrange for the "pitch" to be in a form that speaks to my strengths -- which means creating a document that sells the client on my proposal and my background.

    In the worst case, when I've written out everything I might possibly say, I can stare at the document and repeat what I wrote. But 99% of the time I can avoid that.

    10 points
  • Tristam GochTristam Goch, over 5 years ago

    I've always found walking in with eyes red from a little stresscry helps endear you to potential clients

    8 points
  • Tyson KingsburyTyson Kingsbury, over 5 years ago

    i find that a lot of it depends on your own disposition....some people find public speaking to be their worst nightmare, others are (to degrees) more comfortable with it.

    For me, I'm fine with it...

    As a teen I was in a few garage bands, and at times played in front of over a thousand people....singing and jumping around on stage...which i found tremendous fun...

    These days, i find my comfort in pitches comes down to my understanding of what I'm pitching. How much background or research I've done, and how well read I am on whatever the subject matter is....

    A few years back, we pitched (and won) a fairly big redesign project for one of the worlds largest architecture/engineering firms. I spent weeks figuring out the solution and did my due diligence researching and making notes and mentally figuring out a game plan etc... When it came time for the pitch, I had a thorough understanding of the problem they faced, the solution we thought fit, and answers for just about any question they might pose... all that homework was put to good use, and I felt incredibly comfortable at the pitch. When you've done your homework, and can come to the table feeling knowledgeable about the topic at hand, you feel much more confident.

    same as with my garage bands as a teen...

    we practiced a LOT.... for hours every weekend... we knew our material, and we had it down so well we could have done it in our sleep... and that makes the difference.

    as my mother-in-law would say "practice makes professor!"

    she also routinely calls Al Pacino 'oh..that cappucino is sooo good!' :)

    5 points
  • Dana (dmxt)Dana (dmxt), over 5 years ago

    Dunno, Xanax.

    2 points
  • Xtian MillerXtian Miller, over 5 years ago

    Practice a couple of times without notes

    2 points
  • Alex ChanAlex Chan, over 5 years ago

    I pretend that I'm talking to the screen instead of to a room full of people. Talk slowly, but surely.

    2 points
  • Jan SemlerJan Semler, over 5 years ago

    I take a shot. Really.

    1 point
  • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, over 5 years ago

    Doing the homework seems to help, but otherwise, my reptile brain is just not having it.

    1 point
  • Joanne Simmons, over 5 years ago

    I recently tried medication for anxiety when going into a presentation, and the effects were freaking mind blowing.

    I've been suffering from worsening anxiety for the past few years, but stage freight is a monster on another level...and something I've struggled with since childhood. Hell, even doing daily standups threw me into heart palpitations.

    I've never taken medication of any sort my whole life for anxiety, but I decided to give it a try this time around. And so, I did what I normally do for presentations (practice practice practice), in addition to taking the medication.

    When it came time to present, I was astonished at how calm I was. No shaking, no heart palpitations, none of the physiological effects that I normally experienced. I was just...calm, which was ASTONISHING because I have never felt that way before.

    While I don't medication is the solution for everyone, if you have a history of struggling with anxiety, it might be something to consider. It won't help you with calming your mental state, but moreso the physiologically symptoms associated with anxiety.

    0 points
  • Christopher CarterChristopher Carter, over 5 years ago

    Take improv, that helped me immensely

    0 points
  • Ix TechauIx Techau, over 5 years ago

    Stage fright, or "pitch anxiety" is all down to one thing: fear of failure. The more confident you are in your abilities, the less anxiety you'll have. So my recommendation if you suffer from stage fright is to prepare to ridiculous levels. Make sure you are 100% sure of what you are presenting. Make sure every possible question is anticipated. And so on. The preparation itself will relieve you of the worst anxiety on the day, as you'll be thinking more about the content of your pitch than the fear of being "on stage".

    0 points
  • Tom WoodTom Wood, over 5 years ago

    Practice, practice, practice.

    Geisha often had their hands placed in freezing water when learning to play an instrument. This would result in numb hands and fingers. When they got stage fright during a live performance they would still be able to play perfectly.

    The same applies to presenting a pitch.

    If you know your subject matter, and you know your project through and through, then even with nerves you can use the autopilot to see you through.

    0 points
  • Ted McDonald, over 5 years ago

    Present the project to others (peers, teachers, family, friends, co-workers) just as you would during the moment that matters.

    I feel as though many people only practice presentations by themselves or with fellow group members, which is a mistake. Practice it out loud in uncomfortable situations. That way you get acclimated to that feeling of adrenaline without any bad consequences.

    0 points