How can I help calm someone's performance anxiety?
We know that self-assurance in a speaker encourages audiences to be more receptive from the start. Conversely, people who look insecure on stage raise doubts about their competency immediately.
In companies and social groups, we often want to hear from those doing the work, with first hand knowledge of the issues involved. Unfortunately, these people can be too anxious and self-conscious in a group to do justice to their own expertise.
In small groups, I start taking notes to demonstrate how I value what they are saying. Later in a discussion I may ask them, not what they think, nor what answer is best, but which stood out to them — minimal challenge.
We may need such people before a larger audience only on isolated occasions, and they will never be public speakers.
One option is to interview them on stage. They are having a one-to-one conversation still, just with a crowd listening in.
Someone told me it helps the nerves if we imagine the audience in their underwear. I will not be suggesting that at my local church.
What other techniques, stratagems and self-talk do we have to allay the anxieties of occasional speakers?