To Beat Performance Anxiety, Get Excited
And you thought the way to beat performance anxiety was to calm down. Think again. A new report from researchers at the Harvard Business School recommends another solution: get excited. Science Daily reports that researchers at the school conducted several experiments comparing the effectiveness of getting excited or trying to calm down on people facing anxiety inducing situations. In one experiment, 140 people were told to prepare a persuasive public speech on why they would be good work partners. To increase anxiety, a researcher videotaped the speeches and said they would be judged by a committee. Before delivering the speech, participants were instructed to say “I am excited” or “I am calm.” The people who said they were excited gave longer speeches and were more persuasive, competent and relaxed than those who said they were calm. In another experiment, 113 people told to perform karaoke were randomly assigned to say that they were anxious, excited, calm, angry or sad before singing a popular rock song on a video game console. Those who said they were excited scored an average of 80 percent on the song based on their pitch, rhythm and volume as measured by the video game’s rating system. Those who said they were calm, angry or sad scored an average of 69 percent, compared to 53 percent for those who said they were anxious. Participants who said they were excited also reported feeling more excited and confident in their singing ability.