Standing Tall in front of a crowd - How do you get over the fear?
by a truly independent artist
The number one fear in the world is to talk in front of a crowd of people. So how do we get over it? How do we become a more confident public speaker? How do we build strength and stretch out of our comfort zone?
These are all common questions. Well, I have done it, repeatedly, until the fear went away. It was a process, and I'll show you how it works.
The common advice is to picture everybody naked, that didn’t really work for me although it did make me laugh when I tried it.
Before getting into the process, I do have to confess that I still do get a mixture of nervousness and excitement before going on stage and that's ok, remember not all anxiety is bad. For me, that moment on stage in my sweet spot is worth all the hardship. The choices I have made become real at that moment when the vibrations align; ITS SHOWTIME and I’m finally alive, everything becomes timeless and it feels like I’m exactly where I am supposed to be.
In order to get there, in order to overcome my fears of performing in front of large crowds I went through lots of stage mishaps and took each experience and learnt from it, arming myself with the tools to deal with anything that could possibly go wrong on stage - and believe me it did: from the amps and all stage connections shutting down in Amsterdam while playing in front of a packed house, to the straps of my dress breaking and my wig falling off. Oh yeah and the mic chord constantly being unplugged; Did I forget to mention my voice cracking and starting in the wrong key? - all this served to ease my anxiety, knowing that I could deal with anything up there on stage. Over time nervousness and doubt travelled further and further to the back of my mind, I kept going back on stage and my confidence moved forward with my artistry to the point where I began to really enjoy being there. I SURVIVED it all and so can you.
Now I am telling you all about my singing and yes, I know I have been doing it for 15 years. This is my passion, something I love, and once the music starts up on stage it takes me and there is no looking back and it's great. On the other hand, my public speaking has been a different story. Originally from France, English is my second language, so I am always worried about making grammatical mistakes, what people are going to think of me: Am I going to sound like an idiot? I am more of an introvert when it comes to doing things like this. But the learning is the same.
Whilst living in New York City I became a part time tour guide for a TV and movie tour of the city (a job that will follow me when we moved to Valencia, Spain). That was my first experience of public speaking. Having people focus on what I was saying and not being sure that I was any good at it scared me a lot, but I did it. Again, it became easier and easier over time.
The point that I am trying to make is that it doesn’t matter what happens once you are up there, you will do your best and the next time it will better. You will learn from your mistakes and keep doing it until the fear is no longer there. If I have not been on stage for a while or trying something I never did before I am nervous; I take a breath, close my eyes and imagine the worst that can happen, reopen my eyes and right there it all goes away. People will support you if you are yourself. The thing is that we are all worry about what people think of us on or off stage. The difference is that you made the step, you are already winning. You are Courageous and Strong, and you have something to say. Now let the magic take over…
Here are my top 5 tips
Don’t expect perfection, if you make a mistake, don’t worry, just keep going
Before going on stage do some breathing exercises to calm your nervous system, imagine the worst, and remember it is not a life or death situation.
Then, imagine the best. Remember you are there to inspire people. Get motivated, watch or listen to something that moves you.
Have a friend, someone close to you there to support you. Knowing that somebody has your back can make a huge difference.
Know your story or subject well and practice every chance you get.
Whatever the subject or the purpose, remember that you are there to make a difference and change someone’s life. Every moment counts. YOU GOT THIS!