The Surprising Behaviour that can aid Public Speaking

There are numerous social situations in which we humans may find ourselves worrying. From first dates, job interviews and, of course, public speaking, nerves can dominate our behaviour but this week we suggest that they are an essential part of performing well.

I’ve a question for you this week – have you ever got nervous before a social interaction? Perhaps a job interview, a first date or, and potentially the most obvious one, public speaking?

Well this week I want to use some psychology to help you overcome the impacts of worrying – but perhaps not in the way you expected.

This week’s insight in based on recent research on the impact of worrying and suggests that it can have numerous benefits including helping with ‘the ability to prepare and adapt to stressful events’. The conclusion essentially is this: rather than trying to rid yourself of nerves and worry it may be useful to see them as important aspects of your body preparing for a situation when it needs to perform at its very best and this week I have a very personal example that I think proves the value of this behaviour.

I’m just back from Frankfurt, Germany where not only have Dr Paul Redford and I been delivering our flagship 1-day training course – our Meetology® Masterclass – but I had the huge responsibility of acting as Master of Ceremonies, (emcee), for a prestigious gala dinner and award ceremony.

Now, whilst an experienced speaker who has presented in over 30 countries, I STILL get the butterflies EVERY time I speak but, because I was acting as emcee as opposed to speaking o meetology®, they were really quite bad last week. So bad in fact that I found myself annoyed with myself for accepting the job as I literally couldn’t wait for the event to be over.

However, 3 days before the gala dinner I began to change my thinking and welcomed the nerves and remembered that I had had them on every occasion when I had performed well in the past and managed to view them as a familiar and much needed part of my build-up routine.

Now the event is over and, whilst I’ll let others judge my performance, I was very happy and felt it went well and know that this change in attitude towards nerves was critical.

This week’s insight therefore is a simple one – welcome those nerves, the sleepless nights, the sweaty palms. They are signs that your body is preparing to perform exceptionally and are likely
to do you a lot of good!

Thanks for visiting the website and, if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to sign-up on the home page to receive our weekly Meetology® Minute direct to your inbox, as well the latest information on our training courses and I’ll be back in 7 days with some more Meetology® – the fascinating psychology powering exceptional people skills.

Have a good 7 days,


Jonathan Bradshaw
The Meetology® Lab


Sweeny K, Dooley MD. The surprising upsides of worry. Soc Personal Psychol Compass. 2017;11:e12311.




About the Author:

Jonathan Bradshaw presents and trains internationally on the fascinating psychology powering exceptional interpersonal communication. He is Founder of the Meetology® Lab and leads the company’s team of behavioral psychologists in collating and sharing cutting-edge research on exceptional people skills. As an experienced and engaging keynote speaker Jon has presented at conferences and business events in over 30 countries and is an award-winning columnist and blogger. Learn more about him speaking at your next event via or connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.