For seven years I presented the news on television and every thursday I was
there in front of my camera and I heard the director in my ear saying:
Attention studio for life 5, 4, 3, … and every Thursday I felt my heart racing.
Every week, seven years… Now I tell you this because there is
this huge misunderstanding that experienced speakers they are not
nervous. When you see that speaker on stage and you say like like: “Well they do
it in a natural way” No they don’t. They are nervous.
But the difference to me between an experienced and inexperienced
speaker is that experience people know how to handle the nerves.
I want to give you this insight because it really helped me a lot to deal with my nerves. Because it all begins with the brain.
That’s where my explanation begins. Because you have to look at your brain as having these different antennas Your brain really wants to protect
yourself and it takes that job very seriously So as soon as the antennas perceive a
kind of danger a button is pushed.
It’s a button somewhere here in your head in your brain and it’s called the
amygdala. It has to shape of an almond the color of an almond. It is small as an almond
It is a very important button because as soon as the button is pushed
that’s what we call the fight or flight reaction You have all these sensations in your body
typically the things that you experience when you are nervous like a dry mouth Legs shaking, your heart really beating very fast your respiration is going faster and this is something that actually is there
to protect yourself because as it is a fight or flight reaction
imagine that there is this car nearly racing into you when you when you
cross a road. The fact that you have this Heart beat that is faster, it actually
prepares you to react and to run actually Now the thing is,
when you stand in front of an audience you cannot run. So the antennas they
don’t make a difference between real danger and a danger in your head. So what happens is when you in front of your audience you cannot run,
you kind of freeze but still you have these sensations so you
want to protect yourself now this is on a subconscious level what happens on a conscious level is that
actually when you stand in front of your
audience you want to protect yourselve actually by doing this now this is
overdoing it but to some extent that’s what speakers
actually do in front of an audience stand like that you really want to
protect yourself looking down looking very quickly from one person to another Now what does an experienced speaker do?
Exactly the opposite They on a conscious level They make themselves big in front of the
audience you could say that they fake it making yourself big what I mean with
that is having that posture in in front of your
audience that gives you a kind of a positive attitude.
Now to know what that is just watch television.
You can really learn a lot from it And I advise you to look especially at
people for example presenting the news but people standing because that’s the
most difficult thing to do have to stand in front of that audience what to do
with your arms what to do with your legs just look at how they stand and imitate
that because this is a good neutral position
same thing for the way you look tips that I have there is that you
actually look at your audience as if you pour them a glass of wine
because this will help you to stay with one person you look at one individual at the time.
The time it takes to pour them a glass of wine.
To avoid that you would either look away or look very nervously from one
person to another so the next time you experience these
nerves what I advise you to do is stand and look it a conscious way just watch
television to know what that can be and watch Ted.com because on that website you have all
these presentations with PowerPoint without PowerPoint look at it without volume because it
helps you to look how they stand What I absolutely advise you to do is watch Amy Cuddy she’s an expert on body
language and this is exactly what she’s talking
about about faking it to just have a look, imitate, integrate and make it your own.