How to Get Over Your Stage Fright Once and For All
Picture this: You're on stage in front of a panel of judges and you're auditioning for your first ever school play. You've rehearsed your lines, given yourself a pre-audition pep talk and have done everything in your power to prepare.
Just as you're about to open your mouth to speak, you completely freeze. Your knees begin to shake, and the lines you've memorized vanish from your memory. You've got stage fright.
But this doesn't have to be the case! A brand new school year equals brand new opportunities. This can be the year you achieve whatever you want to, you get our of your comfort zone and you surprise yourself with your confidence to speak.
We reached out to Marla Genova, co-leader of a performance anxiety workshop, Getting Over Stage Fright, and she offered just the advice you need to become a more confident speaker.
Scroll below for her seven tips to overcoming performance anxiety and nailing your next audition or big speech. 🎤
1. Transform Your Energy
First and foremost, Marla revealed that we need to neutralize and transform our nervous energy into pure excitement.
According to Marla, we need to "Accept the anxiety, for anxiety is a natural human process. Without anxiety, you wouldn't experience excitement either!"
Know that what you're feeling is totally natural and that you're going to get through the moment. You can (and will) do anything you put your mind to.
2. Ride the Wave
Try to imagine the fear you're feeling is like riding out a wave. Marla explained that you must "Relax into the wave instead of resisting it."
The best way to do this is to practice slow, deep breathing to help calm yourself down.
"The more we panic and resist it, the more power it will have over us. Our nervous systems are only capable of handling an excessive amount of anxiety at a time and physiologically will calm down, then peak again, like a wave."
If you can ride out the wave, you will make it through the moment and come out a champ!
3. Don't Focus on Yourself
You need to know that it's not all about you. Marla explained that instead of focusing on yourself and striving to prove yourself to others, you must focus on the audience and the message you want to convey to them.
No matter what the situation is, Marla explained that you shouldn't take yourself too seriously and you should focus on the content of what you're performing. "It reduces pressure and takes the burden off your shoulders," she said.
Remember, classmates aren't analyzing us or how nervous we are.
4. Use Positive Self-Talk
We must realize that the way we speak to ourselves is reflected in our thoughts and behaviors.
"It's very important to have positive self-talk." Marla said. "Think about how you would talk to your best friend or someone you really care about going through a similar bout of fear. You would encourage and support them, not agree with their negative thoughts! Talk to yourself the same way you would speak to them."
It's seriously true that your thoughts determine your experience.
5. Don't Compare
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. So what, maybe your best friend or classmate is great at performing and speaking in front of the class, and you're not, but maybe you're more athletic.
Marla said that when we operate from a mindset of comparison, competitiveness and judgement, we are faced with the threat of losing our dignity and respect if we don't meet those expectations. This is not good.
So be realistic and embrace what you are good at it when facing a challenging situation.
6. Let Go of the Need to Be Perfect
Usually, an element of perfectionism enters the picture when we have a fear of public speaking and performing.
We're so worried that we won't remember every single line we rehearsed, or we won't say exactly what we planned out in our heads before our teacher calls on us.
"In reality, only you will know exactly what you were planning to say or do," Marla said. "No one is going to know the difference."
So forget about perfect, and focus on doing your best. You're facing your fear, and that alone deserves some recognition.
7. Set Goals
The only way you'll ever get better at something is if you practice and set goals.
Marla suggests you start small with your goals. "Start speaking up or performing in front of informal groups and audiences [by] answering questions in class or volunteering to up up in front of the class," she said.
Contribute a little more to conversations each day, and you'll be on your way to a happier, more confident you. 😊
Want to hear my personal story of how I overcame shyness? Check out THIS reveal of how one painfully awkward moment helped me come out of my shell.