New Study: Go Back Before You Crack

According to a team of Dutch scientists, walking backward helps people think more clearly.


I saw this article in the San Francisco Chronicle awhile ago and it piqued my interest.



“Backward locomotion appears to be a very powerful trigger to mobilize cognitive resources,” conclude the authors of the study from Radboud University Nijmegen. “Thus whenever you encounter a difficult situation, stepping backward may boost your capability to deal with it effectively.”


The authors of the study also add that “pushing and backing away are usually done in the context of aversion or problematic conditions that require enhanced control in order to focus on relevant information to ward off negative consequences.”


Hmmm. Could this be another tool for the public speaker’s toolbox? It might be worth a try. So in addition to extensive planning, preparation and practice, getting a good night’s sleep, practicing deep breathing exercises, drinking plenty of water and using positive self-talk, the next time you become nervous before a presentation, stroll down the hallway or take a walk around the block. Just make sure you do it backward.