I am a 24-year-old woman, very successful, but at work, I get intense anxiety when I have to be on a call. I have great ideas but feel like I can’t convey them clearly, because my fear gets in the way. Plus I get too serious because I’m trying to control my nerves and then my voice goes soft and monotonous. What can I do?!
The most important thing is to work with the breath. If you place your hands on your lower ribs at the sides of your body and grunt, you will feel the strength there. When you inhale, these ribs should expand at the same time as the anal sphincter and genitals release. The lower abdomen might expand a little too. Then while you speak, keeping these lower ribs expanded will release some of the pressure on the voice and help you to keep the air flowing through it. Humming on an “M” and then saying a nasty “A” sound will help you feel the voice coming out of the body to the resonators at the front of the head. These sounds are rich in overtones that stimulate the brain to produce positive endorphins instead of adrenalin, and they also help the voice to sound clearer and louder.
You need to practice this breathing and sounding a little every morning in order to develop the reflex. If you wait until you are anxious, your kneejerk responses will kick in. If, however, you have practiced, there is a chance you will be able to overcome your reflex with these techniques.
You can also seek out a local specialist, attend toastmasters and keep looking for suggestions from other experts. Some therapists also have good techniques for overcoming anxiety.
The most important element in effecting any change is frequent, repeated practice.