Anxiety Management in Training

No matter how much experienced a trainer gets to be, every training event brings along some degree of anxiety. I for one have not been able to get rid of anxiety before training even with all my years in training and development!

I therefore resolved to embrace it as part of the game of training. I took the view that anxiety cannot be eliminated since it is a natural and human response.  While one cannot wish away anxiety, one can still adopt a practical approach to dealing with it. Like appreciating the positive role that anxiety plays in training. Anxiety has the positive role of guarding against complacency and taking your audience for granted. Anxiety also energizes and spurs one to do thorough and elaborate preparations for the training event. So anxiety in these instances has a positive role.

A practical approach to dealing with anxiety demands that one gets as much advantage from the positives that anxiety affords while minimizing the negatives that come with anxiety. If managed well, anxiety can thus be a tool to make training even more effective.

There are a number of things a training facilitator can do to get best out of anxiety while minimizing its negative effects. I have found the list below to be quite helpful in anxiety management. The list is however not exhaustive.

  • Adequate planning and preparation
  • Readiness
  • Rehearsal
  • Positive attitude
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Good posture
  • Good position in training room
  • Movement while training

I realized that I am less anxious when I am well prepared for my training. My training preparation includes:

  • Preparation of the training materials
  • Thorough acquaintance with my training materials
  • Preparation of self for training delivery
  • Preparation of training venue
  • Familiarization with training venue
  • Preparation of training equipment

I also found deep breathing exercises, physical exercises, and other relaxation techniques to help release tension build up from anxiety. I therefore incorporate these into my pre-training rapporteur of activities to help reduce tension build up.

Anxiety need not be “the killer” to a great training facilitation or presentation! So go out there and give those effective training facilitation, those awesome presentations and fabulous speeches in spite of your anxiety!

About the author

Joiline Gorlova is a Training Manager at Rock Lilly with a BSc Sociology, postgraduate Diploma in Personnel Management, IPM professional member & an SETA registered Facilitator/Assessor/Moderator with Services SETA, LGSETA, ETDP SETA & PSETA. She has an established track record as a trainer, facilitator, assessor and moderator across industries. She comes from a Human Resources Generalist, and Development background with working experience within Southern Africa. Joiline is passionate about Learning and Development and remains a lifelong learner herself.