How To Overcome Stage Fright
Whether you’re a vocalist, a speaker, an actor, a dancer or a performer of any kind, getting on a stage and performing in front of an audience can be challenging and a little nerve wracking. Most performers, even professionals, get a little nervous before a performance, that’s quite normal, and is quickly overcome. But for some, the fear is unbearable. Being this nervous and frightened can cause a performer to freeze totally back down, and can ruin future opportunities.
Stage fright, often referred to as performance anxiety, is often caused by lack of self confidence, feelings of incompetence or being unprepared, and has 4 stages:
- Anticipation: Stressing and worrying about how the performance will appear.
- Avoidance: Looking for opportunities to to get out of the performance altogether.
- Anxiety and Panic: Experiencing such symptoms as:
- Extreme nervousness
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart rate – it can be so bad you think you might have a heart attack
- Nausea or stomach ache
- Cold hands
- Difficulty breathing
- Appraisal: This occurs after the performance is complete, when the performer judges how he/she did and how it might have been accepted.
We all have opportunities throughout our lives to be in front of an audience, and although we may always have little butterflies before a performance, feeling the extreme effects of stage fright is something we don’t want to experience…if you follow these few tips, you probably won’t have to.
Controlling or Overcoming Performance Anxiety
Stage fright is full of “what if’s”…
- What if I forget the lyrics, my lines, my speech or my dance moves?
- What if my voice cracks or shakes?
- What if the audience is bored?
- What if I appear foolish?
- What if, what if, what if…
Starting from the moment you know you will be performing, don’t panic, just begin to prepare and practice. Nothing will make you feel more confident than if you are well prepared.
Other techniques that are helpful:
- Practice relaxation techniques: Some people will use hypnosis or massage to relax. Find whatever works for you and use it.
- Breathing exercises will help relieve your stress. As you breathe deeply and slowly, at least 25 times, your body will begin to relax.
- Sips, not drinks, of warm water (especially if you are a vocalist) will keep your mouth from drying out.
- Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks before any performance, because the caffeine can get your heart pumping faster and also cause the jitters.
- Stage fright is a build up of anxious energy, you can alleviate most of it by doing some type of exercise prior to leaving your home for the performance.
- Remember, the presentation must be about your audience. Not You. Capture your self thoughts and choose to think about giving your gift of you and your message to them. It feels great to give gifts.
Looking for a voice coach? I am Carol Stanley and I am a Voice and Presentation Skills Coach. I train speakers and singers (business owners, ministry leaders, stage performers, beauty pageant competitors, workshop leaders) to gain confidence, poise, and command over their total voice, body, mind, and spirit.
Contact me, I offer Private or Group Coaching, and I would love to speak with you.