Even the most confident performers can have stage fright. Stage fright is everywhere from professional stage actors to TV presenters. Stage fright can leave you feeling nervous, hands trembling, or paralyzed with total fear at the thought of performing in front of an audience. But don't worry: by learning to relax your body and mind and with the help of a few tricks, you can overcome stage fright. Do you want to know how? Follow the steps below.
Method 1 of 4: Overcome stage fright on Performance Day
Step 1. Relax your body before going on stage
This can be done in several ways. By training the tension from your body, you make your voice firmer and your mind relaxed.
- Hum softly to make your voice steady and calm.
- Eat a banana before your performance. The empty, nauseous feeling in your stomach disappears and yet you don't feel full.
- Chew gum. This relaxes your jaw. Do not chew too long so as not to upset your digestion.
- Do stretching exercises. Stretch and straighten your arms, legs, back and shoulders to relax your body.
Step 2. On the morning before your performance or even up to an hour before, meditate for 15-20 minutes
Find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably on the floor. Close your eyes and breathe gently while focusing on each part of your body.
- Place your hands on your thighs and sit cross-legged.
- Try to get to a point where you don't think about anything but relaxing alternating body parts. Don't think about your performance.
Step 3. Don't drink caffeine unless you are addicted to it
You may think it gives you more energy, but in the end it just makes you nervous and shaky.
Step 4. Set a "stop" time for your nervousness
On your performance day, say that you can be nervous until, for example, 3:00 pm, but not anymore after that. The chance that it will succeed increases by setting this as a goal.
Step 5. Get some exercise
Exercise relaxes you and releases endorphins. Set aside at least half an hour to exercise or, if necessary, go for a walk.
Step 6. Try to smile as much as possible
Watch a comedy, or be around funny people. Laughing relaxes you and makes you think about your nerves.
Step 7. Get in early
At least before your audience is there. This gives a feeling of control, more than when you walk in at a full room. You will also feel less agitated.
Step 8. Talk to your audience
You can be put at ease by seeing that your audience is made up of ordinary people, just like yourself. In addition, your expectations will become more realistic. Or, if you're not too familiar, just go into the room and don't say who you are (also don't go around in your performance clothes!)
Step 9. Imagine your entire audience is made up of clones of your favorite person
This person loves you, loves everything you do and says, laughs at the right times and claps the hardest for you.
Step 10. Drink orange or grapefruit juice half an hour before you have to eat
Your blood pressure drops and that is positive for your nerves.
Step 11. Recite your favorite song or poem
A familiar routine makes you feel calmer and you also recite your own texts more gracefully and more easily.
Method 2 of 4: Overcome stage fright before a Speech or Presentation
Step 1. Make your story interesting
Sounds logical, but your stage fright is probably partly caused by the fear of being considered boring. Maybe that fear is justified because your material is boring? Even if your subject is bone dry, make it accessible and inviting. You'll be less concerned if you know your story is inviting.
Provide a happy note, if desired. Throw in a few jokes to take the tension off both you and the audience
Step 2. Be mindful of your audience
When drafting your presentation, put yourself in the shoes of your audience's needs, knowledge, and expectations. Age-appropriate your content, voice, and presentation. If your speech actually resonates with your audience, you'll be less nervous.
Step 3. Don't say you're nervous
Don't joke about your nerves. People expect you to have self-confidence, otherwise you won't stand there. Saying you're nervous may relax you, but people may lose their trust and attention.
Step 4. Film yourself
Keep doing this until you look back and think, "Well, this is a great presentation!" As long as you're not happy with how you look on film, you won't be happy with how you look in real life. When you're presenting, think how crazy it looked on the screen.
Step 5. Move slowly, do not walk polar bears or nerves
You lose some tension by walking. By walking forwards and backwards you release nervous tension and at the same time you reach your audience. By walking around energetically and with emphatic gestures, you overcome your stage fright. Don't rub your hands, play with your hair, or mess with your microphone or papers.
Moving nervously builds tension and your audience will see that you are uncomfortable
Step 6. Take it easy
You often see stage fright because speakers speak way too fast. Talking too fast will finish your presentation faster, but you will be much less likely to get your story across. Most people don't realize they're talking too fast, so take breaks after each new thought and give your audience space to respond.
- By speaking calmly, you are less likely to stumble over your words or misspell yourself.
- Time your presentation in advance. Get used to your desired speaking rate. Keep a watch nearby to make sure you're on schedule.
Step 7. Ask your audience how you did it
Ask for feedback afterwards or hand out questionnaires. Ask for honest opinions. In this way you improve your presentation, your confidence grows and you overcome your fears.
Method 3 of 4: General strategies for overcoming stage fright
Step 1. Feign confidence
Even if your hands are shaking like a straw and your heart is racing like crazy, pretend you're the most relaxed person in the world. Head up, chest out and put on a big smile. And don't tell anyone how nervous you are. Hold this pose on stage until you feel a little more relaxed.
- Look straight ahead instead of at the ground.
- Keep your back straight and don't let your shoulders hang.
Step 2. Create a ritual
Have a ritual that always works on performance day. It doesn't matter if it's a run, a regular last supper or singing the same song in the shower, as long as it gets you in the right mindset.
A talisman is an important part of a ritual. A jewel, a stuffed animal, whatever
Step 3. Think positively
Focus on all the great results your presentation will deliver, rather than everything that could go wrong. Beat every negative thought with 5 positive ones. Put a note in your pocket with motivational phrases, or whatever you need to keep you from giving in to your fears.
Step 4. Seek advice from a professional
He will undoubtedly have useful tips and tricks for you. In addition, it can be comforting that the pro has probably also had to deal with stage fright.
Method 4 of 4: Overcome Poduim Fear as an Actor
Step 1. Visualize success
Before you act, remember that you are going to give the performance of your life. A standing ovation, the frenzied audience and the compliments from the rest of the cast: just imagine it. Watch yourself from the audience. This gives the best chance that it will go great.
Start early. Preferably from the moment you are cast. Keep imagining how well you're going to do. Do it every night and morning as the premiere approaches
Step 2. Rehearse as much as possible until you know your text by heart
Also know your opponent's games so that you know what your 'cue' is. Practice in front of your family and friends so that you get used to an audience.
- Stage fright is partly caused by the fear of not knowing your lyrics. So make sure you know all the text inside and out.
- Practicing in front of an audience helps you get used to the idea of speaking your text in front of people. Alone in your room is a completely different situation than a room full of people.
Step 3. Get into your role
Move, think, and act like your character. The more you do this, the more likely you are to forget about your own worries. Imagine being your character instead of playing him/her.
Step 4. Watch your own performance
Gain confidence by practicing in front of the mirror. Film yourself to see how great you are or to see where you can do even better. If you have already seen yourself act fantastically on film, there is a greater chance that it will also work on stage.
- By watching yourself play, you overcome your fear of the unknown. Knowing exactly how you look and move makes you feel more confident on stage.
- Look at your body language and mannerisms, and how your hands move when you speak.
Note: this doesn't work for everyone; some people tend to pay too much attention to themselves and it makes them even more nervous
Step 5. Learn to improvise
All good actors should be able to improvise. By improvising you can get out of unexpected or tricky situations, for example when your opponents make mistakes. By improvising you become familiar with the unexpected.
- Through improvisation you learn to realize that you cannot control everything. It's not about perfection, it's about adapting and reacting to every situation.
- Don't get upset if something unexpected happens. The audience doesn't know the script and won't know if something goes wrong unless you show it clearly.
Step 6. Keep moving
Physical activity relaxes you and keeps the audience's attention. Of course, this is only the intent if your character needs to be in motion. Make the most of your movements and gestures to let your body relax.
Step 7. Turn off your mind
Once on stage, focus solely on your text, body and facial expression. Don't worry and don't wonder. Enjoy your performance and the moment, whether you are singing, dancing or acting. The audience feels flawlessly whether you are completely absorbed in your performance.
- Forget a word: just keep talking. Make up replacement words. If your (possible) colleague makes a mistake: talk about it. Ignore the mistake, or if there's no other option, improvise around it. As mentioned, improvisation is vital for a good actor.
- Normally there are lights aimed at you so that you can hardly see the audience. Focus on the lights (without blinding yourself). But don't look blankly ahead. In a hall, the hall light is often dimmed, so that the audience appears to be in a huge black spot.
- If you miss a dance step, no one will notice unless you stop. Just keep going and people will think it's part of it. The same goes for a script: people don't know, so keep going and improvise if you forget a sentence.
- Remember that fear and excitement are the same. It is your attitude that determines whether you get scared or excited.
- Imagine your audience looking weirder or grouchier than you. Then you feel better about yourself.
- If eye contact with your audience makes you nervous, stare at a wall or light.
- Even the greatest of performers know stage fright. You're not the only one. Just carry on with your performance and at some point you'll forget you're on stage.
- Practice with smaller groups first, then with larger groups.
- If your first performance goes smoothly, there is a good chance that your stage fright will be (much) less afterwards.
- Play for your family first, that helps!
- Remember that the public will not eat you! Relax and have fun. Acting is serious business, but you can do it with pleasure.
- Sometimes it's good to be a little nervous. That will alert you. Most mistakes are made by people with overconfidence.
- Make sure you've been to the toilet before going up!
- Know your cues! One of the most common mistakes actors make is that they know their own text, but they don't know when to say it. This can lead to very awkward silences.
- Don't eat too much before going on stage to avoid nausea. In addition, digesting food takes a lot of energy. Prefer to eat after the performance.
- Unless your role requires you to wear a costume, make sure you wear clothes that you feel comfortable in. You don't want to be busy with your clothes all the time on stage. Also, make sure you have something that fits well with your performance, and not too naked. Finally, you don't want to be naked if you have a 'wardrobe malfunction'! Wear something in which you feel you look good. That's how you radiate confidence.
- Be as prepared as possible. Practice makes perfect, and the more you rehearse, the more confident you become. Not to mention the quality of your performance.