Handling nerves like a world champion.

Written by David Pullan

Handling nerves like a world champion.

Have you ever had a situation where you’ve gone into a presentation, a sales pitch or an interview and felt nervous about the outcome? If not then I presume you are a robot. 


Nerves are normal. They are energy. But how we harness them is key to our success as communicators.


A friend of ours was a world champion rower. She told us that when she was in her boat at the start of a race she knew beyond doubt that in 240 strokes she was going to be blind and throwing up with pain. She also knew that she had no control over how good her opposition was.


Now I don’t know about you but that sort of stress is a lot greater than worrying if your armpits are a bit damp and if  Brian from internal audit is going to like your recommendations.


So what did our friend do?


She focussed on her first three strokes: the initial steps that got her underway and into a good rhythm. She didn’t focus on the end result but only what was under her control right then. She focussed on giving herself a great platform to get her race going. 


How often as communicators do we worry about end results which are ultimately out of our control?


Wouldn’t it be better if we focussed on what we can control and what will get our communication off to a good start? Wouldn’t it be great if we had a brilliant first three strokes?


Things like,

  • A confident walk to the microphone.
  • A clearly structured introduction.
  • Making warm eye contact.


This week have a think about whether you are focussing on end results rather than what is under your control.


And in any communication situation think what your first three strokes could be.


 photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/15304897@N00/17294658612">1504_Brentwood_Day1_0192</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>


  • W B Yeats

    'Think like a wise man, but communicate in the language of the people.'