How CEOs overcome panic in performance

How CEOs overcome panic in performance

A client was just telling me how they feel dizzy and faint when they get in front of a large audience. That is a horrific experience, and it becomes a pattern to avoid such situations like the plague (or even COVID-19)! A friend told me that they were looking up a YouTube video of a certain CEO and found absolutely nothing online. There may be many reasons for this, but often, they have avoided speaking in public their whole lives.

The impetus for change here is that visibility is critical for leadership, even in our virtual world and might I say, even more so in our virtual world. You need to be seen and heard and even, might I say, a new KPI in today’s world – touched.

So, what to do about that horrible feeling. Well, a kind meaning colleague had shared a million positive visualisation tips to help that person through. Oops. How was that working for her. It wasn’t .

You see this issue with my client is not at the catastrophization stage, but at the moment before or during a presentation, which is actually called something different. It’s called ‘panic’ and there are different strategies for panic an catastrophization and that’s where many get led astray.

Panic is different to catastrophization in that at the panic stage, there is no rationalising with the unconscious mind. Too late! It’s too late to ‘relax. It’s too late to visualised. It’s too late to do anything that requires rational thinking.

Instead, this is where you go on remote control. Here are some tips:

1. Have a mantra:

A mantra is a short saying that you repeat over and over. A bit like chanting Hari Krishna it overrides unconscious conversation.

Some of my favourites are:

“I love you”

“This is an opportunity”

“Let’s do this”

“Forgive them Lord. They know not what they do”

2. Breathe out

Often, under stressful conditions, breathing in will only breathe extra tension into the body. Focus instead on the breath out and let the body breathe in by automatic response.

3. Walk

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times. Move! That means walking and perhaps gesturing and even calling out the people. Do something. Anything!

Let me hear your thoughts.

Love Dr Louise Mahler

p.s. We’ve still got a few spots available for the Gravitas Masterclass in Melbourne, 7th June 2024. Start the new financial year by elevating your executive presence.

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Time: 9.30am – 4pm

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My Confident Leader Retreat take place over 3 days 2 nights with a focus on helping leaders build their executive presence and hone their own unique gravitas within a small group setting.

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In today’s fast-paced world, effective leadership is vitally important, especially during periods of stress and uncertainty. These programs places a strong emphasis on communication skills, particularly in emotionally charged situations, urging leaders to develop their presence, influence, and presentation abilities.

What I’ve been up to…

CEW Retreat 8th – 10th March 2024

RMIA Conference 14th May 2024


Forbes Council Article

Seeing Is Not Always Believing: Redefining The Leadership Model Of Interpersonal Communication For CEOs

Date: 15th May 2024

Click here to read more.

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About Me

Dr Louise Mahler is a body language expert. With a focus on study of the mind-body relationship and business applications; providing practical inspiring improvement to global leaders.

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