Here are my 5 strategies to control nervousness. Use these right before going on stage or in front of any type of audience. These 5 tips will help you feel more relaxed and confident so that you can conquer stage fright with courage.
The time you have before hitting the stage is not to be spent on rewriting your script, stressing about your talk or trying to memorize your opening lines. You had plenty of time for that before this very moment.
This is what you need to do to calm yourself and your pre-stage jitters!
Strike A Power Pose
Feel the powa. Striking a power pose for 2 minutes will help you feel more confident. Amy Cuddy shared her research on power poses in her poignant TedTalk. She talks about why you should “fake it till you become it” to fight those pre-stage jitters everyone gets. If you want to learn more about how your body language can dictate your thoughts, I highly encourage you to watch her talk.
Hydrate well in advance. It’s essential to stay start two hours before your talk so that you don’t need to excuse yourself mid-talk for a bio break (can you imagine?). Give yourself enough time to unload so you don’t have to run off stage.
Get In The Zen Zone
Try yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises to get your zen vibes on. By putting yourself in a relaxed mental and physical state you will ensure your best performance. We perform best when we’re calm. Take it upon yourself to get into the right head space. Any of the activities I listed will help with this. If you haven’t caught the mindfulness bug yet, then do it like Michael Phelps pre-Olympic-swim and play your favorite beats drumming in your headphones to get in the zen zone. If you really want to get your zen on you can do all of these activities the day-of and make sure you don’t talk to anyone before getting right on stage. Engaging in a full-on conversation will take your mind off your talk. Of course, this depends on how high stakes the speech act is (i.e. Ted Talk, important meeting, dream job interview). If it’s not very high stakes then you can forego this (albeit misanthropic) suggestion (😊). You want to get on zen on and keep it for the performance.
Skip The Coffee
Avoid stimulants such as coffee, caffeinated tea, and other libations. Water is your best friend before the stage. You can also try an herbal tea such as slippery elm (aka throat coat) if you feel like smoothing your voice. But caffeine is a no-no since stimulants can exacerbate nerves. It might also cause you to run to the loo due to the runs…if you know what I mean! Just stick to H20. Trust me on this.
Connect With The Audience
As soon as you walk on stage (or into the meeting room), lock eyes with people. It’s very important to make a connection with the audience. My advice is to make eye contact with 7 people on the right, left, and middle of the stage so you’re covering as much of the space as possible. Smile and greet the audience. Doing so will help you see them as individuals and kind people instead of mortal enemies out to get you. Remember, they’re here to listen to you. Give them the value they deserve.
Try these 5 steps out before you hop on stage and watch your nerves and pre-stage jitters disappear on the spot!
Happy Explearning 🌠