Being nervous

I was a shy and introverted child who grew into a shy and introverted adult. Speaking in large groups of people was a nightmare of nerves, so was avoided where possible.

Eventually I got to positions in my work where I needed to communicate with groups of people. I think I got a bit better at it, but the nervousness remained and my communication remained wooden.

I went on a course which clarified for me the need to speak from my own experience, rather than just from theory, connecting with my own feelings and the authentic ‘me’.

And I discovered a technique called the ‘Sarnoff Squeeze’, named after Dorothy L. Sarnoff, from her book Never be Nervous Again. It evolved after she observed actor Yul Brynner preparing to go on stage. Essentially, you squeeze the muscles around the upper abdomen/ diaphragm while slowly exhaling. You can find instructions on the web, such as this. It really works!

This all eventually gave me the confidence to chair public lectures with large audiences without being over-nervous, because it was a cause I believed in.

So, yes, you too could do it.

It doesn’t mean I’m not still essentially an introvert!

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