Battling Your Nerves

George Stephanopoulos

Lesson time 06:42 min

George breaks down the art of communicating under pressure. Discover strategies for successfully navigating stressful situations and for coping with nerves and emotions. George teaches how he handled challenging moments from past interviews.

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Topics include: Battling Your Nerves * Just Keep Breathing * It's Never As Bad As You Think * Points To Remember


[MUSIC PLAYING] INTERVIEWER: Why do you think people get nervous about talking in public? - What's not to get nervous about? It's the most terrifying thing most people do is talking in public. And to tell you the truth, I still-- for whatever reason, I'm much more nervous when I'm actually talking to real people rather than looking in the camera. Maybe it's just all the years of training. Of course you're nervous. You're on display. You're the center of attention. Some people love it. My wife loves it. You put a camera on her, you give her a glass to raise a toast at a party, she can go on for 20 minutes and have everybody in stitches. It's not as actually natural for me. But it's something I've learned to overcome. I would tell you a couple of things to remember if you're nervous. There's a good chance the person you're talking to is just as nervous as you are. Remember that. Number two, remember if it's true, and I hope it's true if you've walked into this conversation, you've done what you need to do to prepare for this conversation. And three, remember that the worst that can happen is you might be a little bit embarrassed. And it can be fixed later. And for me, it just begins with preparation. I mean, it goes back to the fundamentals. I feel like the best way for me to battle my nerves is by being prepared. And if I'm prepared, at least I'm halfway there towards overcoming that fear. [MUSIC PLAYING] I do meditate. And often before a big event, particularly like a debate, I'll meditate right before the debate or the interview, just to sort of quiet everything down before it starts. But I have to admit it has not always succeeded. And I can think of two examples in particular. One of my worst ever interviewing moments, it was a moment straight out of "Broadcast News." Remember that moment in "Broadcast News" where Albert Brooks is broadcasting and just is dripping and dripping and dripping in sweat? Well, back in 2006, I was interviewing President George W. Bush. And the interview was in North Carolina. It was at some, I think, Richard Petty racetrack. North Korea sold nukes to Iran or Al-Qaeda. - They'd be held to account. - What does that mean? - We will use means necessary to hold them to account. - Something happened right before we sat down where I had-- panic attack is too strong, but I had the manifestations of a panic attack. I was in full flop sweat, full Albert Brooks flop sweat in front of the President of the United States. It was so bad that I had to take a quick break and walk into a walk-in freezer on site in order to cool down. I was absolutely mortified. Now, to his credit, President Bush was such a gentleman. He made a little bit of a joke, gave me a couple of minutes to recover. And I went on and did the interview. But that had never happened to me in that way before. And it just-- it terrified me. But I guess I learned from it as well. It d...

About the Instructor

Legendary interviewer and broadcaster George Stephanopoulos has navigated challenging interviews for more than 30 years—as former White House communications director and presently as co-anchor of Good Morning America. Now he’s teaching you how to project confidence under pressure and draw the best value from your own professional and personal interactions, becoming a stronger, more intentional communicator.

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George Stephanopoulos

Award-winning interviewer George Stephanopoulos teaches you his techniques for producing authentic, meaningful conversations.

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