Why is it the minute we have to be quiet, like during an uncomfortable scene in a staged play or during a speech, we cough? It’s nerves, and if you are a human being, your body sometimes reacts when you feel a little squirmy. You don’t have to leave the scene. A theatrical stage manager we know gave us this advice: To stop a nervous cough, press hard on the roof of your mouth with your tongue or your index finger. Your cough should stop immediately. You won’t have to add to the noise by opening up a cellophane-wrapped cough drop…and the show will go on.

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