What does Public Speaking and James Bond have in common?

Do you remember the scene in Casino Royale where Daniel Craig (aka James Bond) is in the middle of a high stakes poker game with the villain of the movie, Le Chiffre. James is trying desperately to identify the Le Chiffres “give” to know when Le Chiffre has a bad hand and is bluffing.


In the poker game they are playing for millions of dollars. For most of us, a presentation will not have millions of dollars at stake. But there is pressure – and it can seem comparable to high stakes poker game to your body. So much so that there are clear indicators or “gives” to your audience that show your nervousness.



Nervous energy seems to want to escape the body through the hands and arms. A clear indicator that a speaker is nervous is to look at what they are doing with their hands and arms. A confident speaker has natural gestures which compliments the words they are saying. At the other end of the spectrum a nervous speaker will find their hands forming a fig leaf in front of their genitals, or they find themselves constantly wringing their hands, or some other unnatural activity with their hands.

What do your hands do when you speak to an audience?


Furtive Eyes

One indicator an audience, unconsciously, uses to identify the authenticity of a speaker is to look into their eyes. For the inexperienced speaker this is a tough skill to master – looking into the eyes of an audience. As a result a “give” of a nervous speaker is their lack of eye contact.


Legs and Shuffling

Nerves can do amazing things to speakers. I have seen speakers, who could otherwise stand confidently, suddenly find themselves shifting their weight from one foot to another, or walking incessantly like a caged lion, or shining one shoe on the back of the other leg. In most cases they are completely unaware that they are doing this…


When you stand up in front of an audience are you communicating unintended messages to your audience? You might not have millions of dollars dependant upon your next presentation but there is something significant attached to the presentation (otherwise you and your audience wouldn’t be investing the time). Whatever it is. Do you have any “gives” that is undermining your credibility?


(Image: Courtesy of Casino Royale)
Mark Kyte
Mark Kyte is a public speaking mentor and founder of the Public Speaking Skills Academy. Mark loves helping clients achieve dynamic results that help them increase their influence and get more clients. Read more of his blog and if you like what you see check out the mentoring programs.