Coaching Magazine

Harnessing Speaking Anxiety With High-Stakes Speaker Coach Nathan Gold

Harnessing Speaking Anxiety With High-Stakes Speaker Coach Nathan Gold


Have you ever felt overcome by nerves before or during a presentation? We’ve all been there; wobbly knees, sweaty palms, a racing heart. It’s a vulnerable feat standing on stage and delivering a presentation or talk, but if anxiety is getting in the way of engaging your audience, it could be interfering with your success. That’s where Coach Nathan Gold comes in. With his help, you’ll combat speaking anxiety and make the most of your time in the spotlight.

Public speaking anxiety is a common struggle with 72-75% of the population fearing the very act. Even though it’s something we all do at some point in our lives whether during school or work, that fear or anxiety remains prevalent. Even the most experienced public speakers experience feelings of anxiety and nervousness, but what separates them from the majority? They’ve developed tools to keep those riddling emotions at bay.

“You can’t get over being nervous, you can only learn to deal with the feelings that come up in your body when you feel those nerves,” says High Stakes Speaker Nathan Gold. As Chief Coach of The Demo Coach and Keynote Speaker, Gold knows more than a thing or two about presenting. The public speaking aficionado has served over two million people in the last 15 years in a range of practices such as preparing people for TED talks, SharkTank performances, investor pitching, and “can’t miss” sales presentations.

And how does he do this?

Gold offers specialized workshops, keynote talks, and one-on-one coaching sessions focused on addressing specific areas of improvement to give his clients more confidence for their high-stakes speaking opportunities.

Helping others has been a passion of Gold’s since his early years with a start in teaching adults computer programming at 14 years old. But despite more than 50 years of experience and practice in public speaking, nerves and anxiety are old friends that have never left his side.

The difference, however, is telling. Those emotions don’t hinder his ability to conduct engaging presentations because Gold realizes anxiety is a very normal part of being human, and that feeling can arise in just about any situation.

“When you’re bringing somebody to a surprise birthday with people they haven’t seen in 20 years, your heart races, your palms get sweaty, you trip over yourself, and you can’t get a sentence out of your mouth because you’re so nervous,” he discusses, “versus going up on a TED stage where you’re scared to death because Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Al Gore are sitting in the front row. Your heart races and your palms get sweaty. The same bodily reactions happen. It’s just what we do with them up here in our brain once we calm down our Amygdalas.”

If you have a high-stakes speaking opportunity, you want to take advantage of every minute you have, and nerves are not something that should disrupt you. When you work with Gold, he ensures you maximize your limited time by sharing tools and tactics to engage your audience, a key part of any successful presentation.

But before you focus on your pitch, you have to learn how to manage your speaking anxiety. With Gold’s three simple yet effective tips, you can slowly start to rewire your brain’s response to public speaking.

“The first step to getting control over what’s going on up here {your brain} is breathing properly. Most of the time when we’re stressed, nervous, or feeling anxious, we’re breathing too shallowly. They call it clavicle breathing. And we’ve all experienced that moment where you go, whoa, come on now, relax a little bit. And you had to talk yourself down because you’re not breathing. So number one is deep abdominal breathing,” Gold explains.

It may seem like an obvious step, but practicing slow breathing during an anxiety-ridden moment drastically alters your body’s physical response. There are several documented techniques for this called ‘box breathing’ and it is very easy to learn.

“The next thing that goes with breathing is posture. You need good posture,” Gold says.

Picture this: You walk into a room full of professionals, eager to hear you speak, but your posture reveals how you’re feeling inside – You’re slouched over, chin dipped, and shoulders up to your ears. Your anxiety is a dead giveaway, but if you instead walk in with your back straight and head high, you not only show others you’re confident but you convince yourself.

“Now for the magic. Good things come in threes. We all have two voices up here, a good one and a bad one, and we often get stuck with the bad one. But if you want to drown all of that out, the easiest way to do it is to play some music in your head,” Gold shares.

It sounds silly, but in psychology, they call it a mood inducer. It’s in the same realm as playing uplifting music in the morning to start your day off on a good note. The same idea applies here. When you shift your attention to a song that lifts you up, you stop those negative thoughts from forming and instead focus on the feeling that specific song arouses.

For Gold, he plays “Gonna Fly Now” from the movie Rocky (I may very well use that song for myself).

Now that you know all three tips to ease speaking anxiety, Gold has one final tool to help you remember them in case your nerves fog your memory.

If you find yourself feeling scrambled before presenting and can’t seem to recall the three steps, Gold encourages you to write them down on a card that can fit in your pocket or have a physical cue to remind you.

“Usually people have either a bracelet, a ring, or a watch they wear either all the time or on occasion. In either case, what I generally recommend is for the day when you feel nervous or the moments you feel that nerve, take your watch and give it new meaning,” Gold underscores.

He suggests wearing your ring, watch, or bracelet on the opposite arm or finger to physically interrupt you when your nerves begin to spike. It acts as a physical reminder to remember his three tips: breath, posture, and music.

“That’s what I look to do, is find something on that person’s physical being they can switch the day of or moments before they do what they do, where they’re feeling that anxiety and that nervousness. So even at the beginning of or during the presentation, that’ll be a physical anchor reminder to them.”

It’s never too late to overcome your fears, and if it happens to be speaking anxiety, Gold is the coach you need.

“You can’t get over being nervous. You can only learn how to deal with it,” he epitomizes.

Prepare for your high-stakes speaking opportunity with Nathan Gold and convert anxiety into a catalyst for success.

Visit his website The Demo Coach to schedule an appointment.

Get the best success strategies and tools delivered right to your inbox!

Scroll to Top

The coaching experts, knowledge and next-level developments to your inbox.

Your privacy is our highest priority. We will never sell or share your personal information.