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I’m writing this on my lunch break sitting in a plastic chair outside Courtroom 2 at Hove Trial Centre. At any moment after 2pm, a tannoy could summon us into the courtroom itself to hear the verdict in a rape trial. Precisely when this happens will depend entirely on when the jury reaches that verdict. It could be within minutes. Or some time before the court closes at 4pm. Or tomorrow. Or perhaps next week.

I’ve been a journalist for nearly thirty years now, and days like this still make me a little nervous. But here’s why I think that nerves can be a good thing.

  1. Feeling nerves shows you still care. Nerves are often created by an awareness of the emotions around you, and that can create empathy. For the people sitting here, today, this isn’t Wednesday’s news story — this is a defining moment in their lives. It’s good to be reminded of that. (The defendant’s family are sitting downstairs, the alleged victim’s family sitting two rows from me upstairs.)
  2. Conquering the nerves can give positive results. I’ve quietly introduced myself to both families, to reassure them in case they’ve been spooked by my BBC badge, or wanted to ask me anything about the reporting of this case. Yes, it took a deep breath on my part; it always does. But the response has been warmer than you might imagine.
  3. If you’re nervous, you’re learning. As one BBC training guru once told me, it’s only when you step outside your own comfort zone that you add to your skill set.

You may think this is all nonsense, and that confidence is the only emotion you should aim to feel at work. But either way, here’s my tip on what to do when you are nervous.

Smile, and look people in the eye.

Ahead of a big job interview, a public presentation, a sporting performance — or introducing yourself to two families who may not particularly want to meet you — it’s the best way I’ve found of ensuring that nerves recharge my batteries, rather than drain them, and that the charge created is a positive one.

If you have a workforce you’d like to take to the edge of the comfort zone, my Newsroom Bootcamp workshop may fit the bill. It’s safe, fun, serious workplace skills development — based on my newsroom theme. It’s training they’ll remember, and thank you for.

Five Newsroom Secrets - to help you feel more confident recording warm video messages!

My free to download, video illustrated guide that will give you the confidence to record more video messages — whether for your website, your staff or your clients.    Because video builds trust — and in the age of the smartphone … ‘we’re all broadcasters now!’

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If you find these forms a bit annoying, just give me a call on 07850 188620 or 01273 606246 — I always like to chat about how I might be able to help.  Or just send an email to john@johnyoungmedia.co.uk — letting me know what you have in mind, and we can take it from there.  If you do like the forms, don’t forget to put something in each box marked with a *.

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