Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Nerves'

Media Tip: The Fear Factor


I’ve met many brave men and women in my life. People who have battled with pain with courage, handled crises with strength, face death with dignity. The bravest were those who were afraid, because that brings its own special battle.

In our work we deal almost daily with people who fight fear of quite a different kind – fear of the microphone, fear of the camera, fear of the studio.  We watch them go pale or mottled, struggle for breath, try to perform with hearts pounding so loudly they can barely hear. That fear is just as real – and sometimes so intense it’s paralysing.

Most people are nervous in front of the camera. In fact, most broadcasters will admit to occasional ‘nerves’. The difference is that broadcasters welcome them; that’s what gives them the edge, the heightened performance they want.

The trick is that they know how to control nerves and how to use them. Broadcasters, actors, public speakers  and performers can convert that energy into excitement, into a high that carries them through their performance and can leave them exhilarated at the end of it.

Most people who appear on camera can be taught how to do the same. Part of it is psychological, but the vital component is learning and practising the techniques that give you the physical control to beat that fear into submission.

I spend quite a lot of time working on these techniques with our clients: the psychological tricks, the exercises, the physical control. It’s not an overnight fix. Like any technique it requires practice. But it can be done, and reasonably quickly – by most people.

I say most people, because there are just a few who will never be able to face the media. Communications staff often recognise this, but have difficulty breaking the bad news to their bosses.  We don’t have any difficulty with this, because we know that for people with paralysing nerves it’s actually often the good news! They know they can never give a credible performance, and when we sympathise and confirm this, they are invariably relieved and delighted to appoint a more relaxed spokesperson.

Sometimes the Big Cheese is happy to be a mouse when it comes to the media.