‘Mel’s Bowels Swing Into Action’

I don’t often read autobiographies but couldn’t resist Sue Perkins’ new book ‘Spectacles’ – I love her sense of humour and was keen to find out more about her life and how she got into comedy. I’m now half way through and I’m so glad I did – I’m a sucker for an eye-catching cover and her writing style is incredibly readable and funny.

One of my favourite chapters in the book so far is when Sue meets her comic partner, Mel Giedroyc. She talks about their worst four performances at the start of their partnership, back in the 1990s; a long time before they started saying “Bake!” on our screens.

The tales are hilarious (in their awfulness at least!) This is partly due to the types of audiences they performed to and partly due to the description of what happens to Mel when they are about to go on stage and she has to deal with her nerves. Sue says,

“It is exactly at that point, on the cusp of starting a show, that Mel’s bowels swing into action.”

Not 5 minutes before, when they had time to prepare (and were near the toilets!), but at the exact point when they are being called to go on stage. Good timing!

It could be just the same when you are about to present at work – how do you deal with your nerves? Do you prepare yourself for how your anxiety will affect you? Or do you leave it until the last minute like Mel?! We have put together a ‘Manage Your Presentation Nerves’ checklist as part of our Big Checklist Series – with some essential tips on how to manage your nerves when you present – click here for the PDF.

I hope you find these tips useful. Enjoy your presenting, and maybe put Sue’s book ‘Spectacles’ on your Christmas list?! I’m personally looking forward to one of the final chapters, ‘I Am Become Cake, the Destroyer of Midriffs’! Buy the book on Amazon here.

On our presentation coaching courses, we blend brain science, positive psychology and advanced communications skills to help leaders make this a reality.  You can work with us one to one or in groups. Contact us to find out more.


Manage Your Presentation Nerves – The Big Checklist

Think of Wimbledon winner Novak Djokovic. One of his key strategies is how he manages his mind so he can perform under pressure.

Now neuroscientists have come up with an evidence based approach to bust our nerves and fears – for presentations and other situations too. We’ve created a system for you in this Big Checklist.

Here are the highlights:

Before an emotion kicks in

  1. Get briefed – certainty calms the brain
  2. Face the fear – understand your personal ‘hot spots’
  3. Use brain training – it helps improve focus
  4. Change your physicality – open confident poses will reduce your cortisol stress levels

After an emotion kicks in

  1. Don’t ignore it – suppressing doesn’t work
  2. Label it – just with one or two words. This dampens down the automatic limbic system
  3. Flip it – find another way of looking at it. Reappraisal is good for heavier emotional loads.

You can be an exceptional communicator.  It’s absolutely possible.  Find out more about our presentations, personal presence and gravitas course here.