Presence, the leading authentic public speaking training company, has launched “Back to Work Confidence”, a course that gets people “out of their heads and into their bodies” using techniques borrowed from yoga and mindfulness.
Before the lockdown, surveys consistently showed fear of public speaking affecting 70–75% of people, making it the number one fear – above death or spiders.
Presence training director and principal trainer Daniel Kingsley says: “We have been hearing frequently from people who were comfortable interacting on Zoom but are suddenly terrified of speaking to a real-life audience. Using yoga and mindfulness techniques quietens their worried minds, and it becomes much easier for them to have all eyes on them. We’ve had great success in recent years using these methods, and people are surprised and delighted about how easy, and even fun, it can be when they know how.”
Even when employees only return to the office for two or three days a week, they find meetings are increasingly held on days when attendance is mandated. Making these days stand out increases anxiety around having to present at them.
Continues Daniel: “Young people are reading mean stories in the media about how they don’t know how to act in offices, which compounds their fears and is unfair because they are the group that most want to return to. It was crucial to me to devise a course that doesn’t patronise but enables them to communicate their authentic selves in the workplace.”
According to the 2023 Unispace Global Workplace Insights report, 72% of companies surveyed say they have mandated office returns. Still, almost half (42%) now report a higher level of employee attrition than anticipated. Factors driving attrition include relocation, resistance to commuting, and anxiety about in-person interactions.