How I controlled the nerves and saved my performance!

This week, I had a challenging experience. I’m rarely nervous, but on Wednesday I had a volcano inside. I was so afraid to mess it up! The result could have been a shaking voice, stuttering or forgetting my speech. Fortunately, sprezzatura saved me again!

The Smell of Sawdust!

We have an old Norwegian saying – when an old circus horse smells the sawdust! This was how I felt this week. From 2003-2015, I worked a lot with sports politics. Then in June 2016, I was invited to the meeting concerning More female leaders in sports.

This week, I was invited to give a speech at the Ministry of Culture and Sports. I was honored and humble to be invited on this debate together with some highly experienced and great people from the Norwegian world of sports.

I was confident, when it came to my opinions and experience. Still, I didn’t want to appear as an old squeaking horn, sharing yesterdays news. I had to prepare well!

The panel debate! From the livestream on

Preparations Are Crucial! Presenting Is Everything!

The topic was the Norwegian sports model in a new era. I studied and wrote down trends of the society, disruption, innovation, generation Z etc. I got valuable input from and aligned with the top management of the Norwegian Snowboard Association. I read different chronicles and reports. I chose a strategy and a few key messages.

I wrote the whole speech, made speaking points and the speaking cards. I practiced at home and felt ready!

The Taxi Panic!

If you follow my SnapChat, you will know that I had a panic attack in the taxi. What if I got questions, I couldn’t answer? What if I forgot my words? What if, what if? My brain and nerves were playing me a trick!

But I had trick in my sleeve. It’s called Sprezzatura! Let me tell you how it works!

Add me on SnapChat «ceciliaflatum»!

The Sprezzatura Trick!

I learned the Sprezzatura trick from two of my best friends. For years, it has been my secret tool to master stressful situations.

Sprezzatura means «a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it». (Source: wikipedia)

Sprezzatura saved my day!

This is what I do:

  1. I take several slow, deep and long breaths
  2. Breathing out I say «sprezzatura» to myself
  3. I image the situation, where I do the speech. I image being relaxed and cool
  4. I can feel stress and anxiety leave my body and mind
  5. I enter some kind of performance mode, almost like an actress.
  6. I feel ready to perform. Bring anything on!

Over the years, the word sprezzatura brings on this performance state-of-mind easily. It’s like I have tricked the brain. I can easily hide how I really feel, what I think, behind a confident and controlled mask.

I believe you can use any word. But you must use the same word every time, in order to bring out this state-of-mind! But I really like the sound of my secret word!

Happy that it’s all over, and that sprezzatura saved my day!

Have a great Sunday!

Sprezzatura love,


PS – Remember to add ceciliaflatum on SnapChat. Every week, I share some stories with tips and tricks to master leadership and life!

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