Imagine you’re standing in front of a large crowd, it’s time to present your talents and they’re all just waiting for you to blow them away. Are you sweaty? Hands clammy? is your heart beating out of your chest? Open your mouth and words are not coming out? Are you having anxiety just by thinking about this?
Then you have performance anxiety aka stage fright. Don’t be embarrassed! Plenty of people have the same issue even the greatest of speakers admit to having stage fright at times.
Here are some tips to help combat stage fright:
Remember you’re the performer: Everyone in the audience came out to see you! They have no idea what to expect, what ideas you’re presenting, what character you’re introducing, what role you’re playing so no matter how you deliver it, how what minor mistakes you make, you mustn’t pause awkwardly, or making it obvious that you messed up, as most directors say “the show must go on” keep going, you’ll impress yourself and the audience!
The key component is you: You can be in front of 10 people in a small theater at your local community center or in carnegie hall in front of thousands of people in tuxes and gowns. ALWAYS remember, you, alone are what’s most important. You’re giving them* a show. It’s all about you. Some performers worry so much about the stakes and it affects their mindsets. The stage is yours. The show is yours.
Find a couple of friendly faces and maintain eye contact: Okay so, don’t be creepy. Don’t just stare. But, find a row of friendly faces, mostly in the front since the bright lights almost make it impossible to see the rest of the audience and focus your attention on that row. Be quick about it, Sometimes a friendly face can help you process your words easier. But remember, be quick. If that doesn’t work, look all the way to the back. You won’t see anyone because again, the bright lights.
Practice like you mean it: Whispering your lines in front of a mirror, preforming your lines in half volume with your sibling is going to make things very difficult for you when you’re actually speaking. You won’t be attentive while the show is going on and you won’t be able to project your voice because you’ll be nervous. If you practice at home as if you’re live with confidence and a projected voice you’ll have better results the day of.
SLOW DOWN: Sometimes we speed things up when we’re nervous, which can increase the chances of tripping over our own tongues. To avoid this, use clocks, timers, or even metronomes while you practice to control your speed and force your brain to keep to a workable pace.
There is no magical end to stage fright, every performer has different needs, stop panicking over next months presentation. JUST ENJOY YOURSELF. Mistakes happen, remember, what you’re doing takes a lot of courage! Good luck!