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An attack of the nerves will instantly rob you of your personal presence and diminish your influence as well. Many of you wil have seen actors pushing against a wall before a performance – why do they do that.
If they were sports-people, you’d guess it is to stretch muscles, but in fact, the compression of the stomach muscles when they do this is what it is all about.
Dorothy Sarnoff was an opera singer, then stage actress, then voice coach, then image consultant. She originated “The Sarnoff Squeeze.”
This is a systematic alternative to pushing walls. Like pushing walls, it blocks your body’s natural production of the adrenaline – a hormone partly responsible for the fight or flight response that gives you the sensation of nerves in the pit of your stomach.
- Sit upright with your back straight, but not rigid,
then lean forward slightly
- Put your hands together in front of your chest,
with your palms together and
your fingertips pointing upwards and push.
- Say “ssssss” as if you were a snake or a leak in a car tire.
- As you exhale while saying “ssssss,”
concentrate on the abdominal muscles below your chest bone,
where your ribs begin to spread apart.
- You should feel these muscles tightening as you exhale
- Relax the muscles and inhale slowly.
Once you get good at the Sarnoff Squeeze, you will be able to tighten your abdominal muscles without having to sit in a chair, or push your hands against each other, or even hiss.
If you do this before a stressful event like an important meeting or an interview, it will help you to feel calmer.