If I think back to when I’ve seen people most stressed in my working life, the majority of instances were immediately before and during conferences.
Very often it’s not the speakers who’s nerves are showing or the AV technicians that are flustered, its the conference organiser. These people know they are in the firing line if the lights go out or the timmings go aray. They can often be heard to say “My job is on the line if this isn’t a success”. Leaving unfair dismissal to one side the truth is there is little benefit in allowing the strain to show.
Earlier this week I was part of a live TV show in which the decision was made to rebuild the set 45 minutes before going on air, while rehearsals were still underway and the lighting and camera angles were far from set up. Additionally the script was being adapted requiring changes to the autocue and the need to re-brief the presenter and guests.
I fully expected to see producers, directors, technicians and runners sweating profusely and rubbing their faces in their hands. Yet the whole studio and everyone in it remained perfectly calm and simply rose to the challenge.
Talking with the production team afterwards they explained the importance of not letting the stress show because the moment one team member gets flustered it infects the whole group. Potentially with dire consequences if this spills through to the viewers.
Every person on the set from the stars to the runners seemed to know that they were responsible for managing their anxiety, not just for themselves but for the whole team and importantly the show and its viewers.
Conference organisers could learn a lot from TV land.
To watch the clip of Dan’s recent TV appearence click here.