March 13, 2007

Grab hold of what?

Great letter to the editor of the Washington Post by Ed Barks, a communications trainer, author and speaker.

The letter is in response to an article on stage fright that recommended, among other things, to "grab hold of the podium and with your hands squeeze as hard as you can."

Riiiiight. That's some of the worst advice I've ever heard.

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4 comments. Please add yours! :

Simon Raybould said...

I agree with the letter, not the original article. In fact, I'd go so far as to suggest that the original article was flawed in eliding "stage fright" (which is pathological and abnormal) with "performance anxiety" (which is normal and sensible!).

One of the big things I tell people on my own presentation skills training courses (in the UK) is that it's entirely normal to be nervous and afraid. That helps them be less afraid, ironically, as they see themselves "not as failures", where "being afraid" is the same as "being a failure" in their eyes.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

I agree that nervousness and fear are a natural part of performing. Like athletes, performers and speakers can use that adrenaline to propel them and give them an exciting and lively presence onstage. As long as they manage it and don't let it control them, a little anxiety can be quite helpful.

Simon Raybould said...

A friend of mine just very nicely summed up the difference between Performance Anxiety and Stage Fright like this.... if it helps, it's the former. If it makes things worse, it's the latter! :)


Lisa Braithwaite said...

Good one!

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