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Nazia Chaudhry | Overcoming Stage Fright

Overcoming Stage Fright

Even conquering stage fright takes some practice.  The more you perform or speak in public, the more control you will gain over your nerves.  Here are some ideas to help you overcome stage fright:

  • Know your stuff and master your material! Practice, practice, practice and be prepared. Many fear of making mistakes and fear that the audience will know we made a mistake. The best way to ensure you can recover from a possible mistake is to know your material inside and out.
  • Breathe! Taking deep diaphragmatic breaths will help relax you.  Before you speak, perform or while you are being introduced, find a quiet spot to sit and breathe slowly while engaging the diaphragm.
  • Plan ahead and don’t overwhelm yourself. If you are pressed for time, focus on the problem spots and getting through the beginning of your performance. Once you get comfortable on stage in front of the audience, it’s smooth sailing. If it is a speech, don’t look at it as a fifty-minute speech. Look at it as a five-minute speech. If you are performing a 3-hour set of songs, practice your introduction and create a set list with more songs than you need, so you aren’t scrambling for what to play during the gig.
  • People want to connect. Start out with something personal or make the crowd laugh.  Everyone loves a true story or a good joke. It relaxes the performer and the audience. It is even better if you can make the story or joke relate to the material you are about to perform. That way they feel like they can relate to you.
  • You are your own worst critic. I have some friends who are amazing performers.  After I have gone to check out their performances, they will say, “We were horrible! I was supposed to do something else at the end of the last song.” Meanwhile, the audience didn’t notice the problems at all because of how they seamlessly recovered from the situation.
  • Although sometimes we feel like the world will fall apart if we mess up, always remember…it’s not brain surgery.  Even as a professional singer and actor, there are times when I feel I haven’t done my best. Remember again that it’s how you recover from the situation.  After all, we are human and the audience will appreciate that you keep moving on.

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