Help! Dealing with Stage Fright

You may not be a ‘quirky folk singer-songwriter’, dealing with nerves before an open mic performance in front of an audience of twenty (like Joe Kowan in his funny Ted talk, ‘How I beat stage fright’).

But what I took away from his talk is that facing his fear of performing in public was the best thing he could do to make it easier the next time. Starting with a light hearted song that he knew well helped too!

Presenting is a skill that you can learn. The more you do it, the easier it will get. And it’s okay to admit that you find it scary; Joe’s openness about his fear put the audience at ease.

Here are some of the tips you sent in on how you prepare before walking on stage:

  • Prepare a strong opening sentence or two to learn really well.
  • Equally, don’t forget to rehearse a strong, confident finish to end on which clearly refers back to your opening remarks, bringing the presentation full circle.
  • Visualisation – run through your presentation in your head before you go on – sportspeople do the same thing; visualising a race from start to finish so that they can make the outcome they seek ‘real’.
  • Repetition – practice is key, know your stuff back to front.
  • Glass of water – always good to keep one handy when you present.
  • Power posing – put your body into an open, confident pose for two minutes. Your cortisol level, which is a stress marker, will drop. Keep breathing. Walk around confidently if it helps.
  • Find a friendly face in the middle of the audience to come back to.

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