Coming to stage or in front of a huge crowd for a speech, report, presentation or for a song, dance or acting performance can be really frightening especially if it’s your first time to do such. I can testify to that! The truth is, that stage fright will determine how well you can do your task. Thus, it is important that you learn to overcome your stage fright even before you go on that stage. Here are some of my tips on overcoming stage fright. Find out which will work on you.
A. BEFORE THE STAGE APPEARANCE:
1. Prepare Enough.
When I say prepare enough, the first thing I want you to do is to understand your task. What are you going to do? What are the things you need for that stage appearance? Remember that how much preparation you make will be reflected on your level of confidence and it will eventually affect your performance. The more prepared you are, the more confident you become.
Depending on your purpose of going up on stage, the preparation varies. If your purpose is for oratory or debate, then be sure to do your homework. Do some research on possible topics and questions that may be thrown to you. A person who is more confident and persuasive is one who understands and believe what he says and admit it, you can’t agree or argue on something you don’t know really or you don’t understand.
Moreover, if you will have a dance number be sure to memorize the exact sequences of the steps. If you have dialogues, simply understand and memorize the script. These are very basic, but why you still get frightened even if you’ve already done all these is because you don’t take it seriously. Thus, you become doubtful of what you already know. So it’s important that you just don’t prepare, but you take the preparation seriously.
2. Practice Real.
Part of the preparation is to practice. But what I mean to say with “practice real” is to practice like it is already your final performance and the moment you’ve been preparing for. Every time you practice, do all the routines. Don’t make shortcuts because every time you do the entire process, it’s there that you become comfortable and accustomed to the routines. Sometimes you will learn how to execute it better and that even without thinking your heart and body already know what to do. In fact, what you do during practice is just the same thing that you will do during the actual presentation. The only difference is the audience, but if you’ve already mastered your routines what’s work left to do is already manageable. A heart and mind that have mastered its craft radiate it to the body.
3. Do some rituals.
a. Breathe in, breathe out.
Before you go on stage take a very deep breathe, I mean literally deep. You may do it two to three times or as many as you wish. It would make you feel energized as if new and fresh blood are running through your veins. I don’t know how to explain it exactly in a scientific way, but as you release that stressed and pressured vibes stored within your system, a newly refreshed and spirited creature comes in.
Aside from filling myself with air, stretching makes me feel better (hope would work to you too). Stretching can actually physically prepare you for whatever activity you’re about to do. It makes you feel ready for a very big fight coming your way. I love turning my head from left to right and vice versa, to free myself from stress because of over thinking the circumstances. Shaking my hands for a minute also helps me to relax.
B. DURING THE STAGE APPEARANCE:
My very personal way of overcoming stage fright begins here. You can do my way or you can explore and do the experiment (I mean it!). It’s personal and exciting because you do it with your own mind with different people. Your mind plays the game here.
4. Be in control.
The moment you step on that stage the show begins and no matter what happens the show must go on. Thus, it is very important to keep yourself in control of your fright, and the key to that is by keeping yourself focused.
a. Keep driven.
First, think of someone special to you, who’s in the audience. Someone you want to impress or someone you wish to be proud of you. Perhaps your boss who doesn’t like you so far, the teacher you hate or maybe your crush. Imagine that he/she is watching every inch of a move you do and every word that you utter. Think that everything you do must be the best in his eyes. This is not to add the pressure, rather give you motivation and inspiration to push yourself to do better.
Second, choose someone from your audience that you think will distract you less. Someone that you are more comfortable with. Someone that you think will understand the feeling you’re trying to enclose within you. Then, share that emotion and conviction with that person. Focus on that person. Keep your eyes on that person (but don’t forget to glance to other!). Communication doesn’t always require words to be uttered. Sometimes just by the look of an eye, a thousand words can be spoken.
I remember my first experience of joining in a declamation contest, I was so nervous. With those big different eyes trying to engulf me, I wished I could just melt. But since I couldn’t do anything else but to start with my piece, I took a deep breath and begin with my lines. I noticed one of the judges was a little less distracting because she wasn’t smiling, she wasn’t even discussing with the other judges while I’m doing my performance so I decided to just stare at her (with glancing to the audience once in a while). For a while, I felt like the world slowed down from turning. I could barely hear any noise except my own voice. Then, I started to recall every detail of my declamation piece: the lines, steps, emotion I need to show, just everything I practiced. From there, I’ve gradually regained my confidence and ended it well.
However, choosing to have an eye to eye with your judge can be risky (more like scary) for some, so I suggest you ask your close friend or family member to be in front to communicate with you. For instance if you’re doing a dance number, you can smile or quickly (seriously quick) show that scared and nervous facial expression to your friend. Or if you’re doing a report, focus on that person who already knows or understands your topic, perhaps your groupmate or your immediate superior at work. Someone who will not give you a confuse expression because it may distract you and worse may confuse you as well.
C. AFTER THE STAGE APPEARANCE:
5. Remember what you did.
As the saying goes, the experience is the best teacher, so with overcoming stage fright. This is my secret in boosting my confidence every time I have to be on stage. I simply recall how I felt the first time I did something. Then, I tell myself, “That’s how I felt, that’s how nervous I was, but I overcame it. Therefore, I shouldn’t feel that much of nervousness anymore.” So cherish every first experience you have. You might have had a shoddy experience, but it will be your teacher for your next undertaking.
How about you, how do you overcome your stage fright? Comment here your personal way of overcoming your stage fright.