39 minutes | Nov 9th 2015

How to not be nervous on TV

You wouldn’t expect someone diagnosed with an anxiety condition to become a public speaking trainer but that’s exactly what my guest Lucas Mattiello did. He has struggled with anxiety and not just overcome it but made it his mission to help others do so to. He uses his experience of living with anxiety for 15 years, the self management tools he used to control stress, and his training as a certified professional coach to connect with his clients. Although Lucas is an internationally renowned trainer, does communications and stress management, and works mostly with people in a corporate communications or public speaking context he is no stranger to the media. He has been featured in Forbes and numerous news shows. He is a best-selling author and his corporate clients include Vancouver Coastal Health, BFL Canada and Cactus Club (one of my favorite places to eat when I’m in Vancouver).

Nobody’s a natural: Everything takes work. You didn’t get to the level of proficiency in your current skill set immediately; you had to work at it. It’s the same concept with public speaking. There are a number of highly successful public speaking “outgoing introverts” that can turn it on. Steve Jobs was a great speaker but he was not a natural extrovert, he was able to turn it on with training.

Breathing: When you’re getting ready to go before the media there’s going to be some nervousness there. When people are nervous they take big inhale breaths and short exhale breaths which is the opposite of what you want to do. Over breathing makes you more nervous so you want to focus on exhaling as long as the inhale or even longer if possible.

4-7-8 Breathing Technique: Inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. This way you’re doubling the length of the exhale compared to the inhale and you will notice a reduction in nervousness.

What if I make a mistake? In a media presentation there’s only five minutes that matter: the two minutes before you go on, the first two minutes of your show and the last minute. The two minutes before is where you’re going to see the nervousness and anxiety spike up. The first step is to reframe the situation. Instead of fear over what can go wrong reframe it as excitement and enthusiasm to connect with a massive audience.

Power Posing: Instead of sitting and looking over your phone to kill time before you go on try power posing. Stand up, open your arms up, and walk around. If you’re embarrassed because people are watching go to the bathroom and open your arms up as far as possible and that is going to make you feel more powerful from a mechanical level and mindset level.

Connecting with the host:

  • Make eye contact. The natural tendency when you’re nervous is to avoid eye contact. That’s not good for making a connection with anybody. In a one on one context we want to maintain eye contact 60-70% of the time. That’s enough to let them know you’re paying attention but not so much that it’s awkward.
  • Body positioning. Have your body open. If your chair has arm rests put your arms on them. That is going to force your chest to be open as opposed to if your hands are on your lap.

Pausing as a power move: If you lose your train of thought focus on taking a deep breathe in and pausing. When people are nervous they rush through the material but confident speakers pause and let the information linger in the air. You can play this off as a pause to have impact. Give yourself that moment to jog your thought and continue going with it. Or admit you got side tracked, laugh about it and continue on.

20-20-60 technique: Walk into any presentation or media obligation thinking “20 20 60”

  • 20% of the audience is going to love me regardless of what I say
  • 20% of the audience is going to hate me regardless of what I say
  • 60% will be on the fence (they can go either way).

It’s not about trying to get 100% of the audience it’s about saying “there’s an 80% potential here let’s focus on that”.

How to contact Lucas Mattiello: The best way is to go to his website at levelupliving.com.

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