How I deal with stage fright

Show time

I’m standing back stage. I can see the MC up on stage, engaging the crowd wonderfully with his myriad of experience to call upon. Its great to watch.

Except for the fact that I’m going on stage next. GULP

The fear is growing

I’m pacing back and forward now there is only a few minutes left till its going to be me up there, with no one else. Just me, facing the crowd. The panic sets in….

or does it??

What if there was a hack, that I could easily do that would crush fear and anxiety? What if it was so simple, that there was no way to fail at it, simply that you just needed to do it. I’m not talking about something as passive as visualization (although its a powerful tool), I’m talking about controlling body language.

Here’s where I learnt this little hack.

It comes from Amy Cuddy’s TED talk where she covers the science of our body language. Here’s the TED talk.

Its so simple

Simply holding your arms up in a power pose changes your body at a hormonal level. That is deep.

I’ve been using this almost every show that I’ve gone to and it has help tremendously. My last show, for example on Thursday 15th May I used this at the upstairs room at Kitty O’Shea’s on Courtenay place. There was no green room nowhere to hide. Just a room with a microphone in one corner and the bar in the opposite corner. I just had to stand out the back of the room with my arms in the air. No one was looking at my because they were all looking at the comic on stage. It made it super easy to get calm, and put my hands in the air like I had just won a 100 meter sprint.

And the weirdest thing happened

I wasn’t scared when I went up to preform. I was calm, relaxed and I owned that night. I didnt forget my material (I had worked on a memory technique) which is what I was so worried that I might do.

I had done it.

At the end of the night talking with other comics at the back of the room, not one person gave me the feedback “well, it would have been better if you had been more confident” which is what they told me before I started using that technique but they rather said to me “wow I loved it. I really like your character, and I really loved xyz joke.”

Why had no one exposed me to this concept earlier? How many more little hacks like this were there possibly out there, left to be discovered? I don’t know, but I do know that I will seek them out now with ferocity and passion and I know that nothing will stop me from finding them.

So when your feeling down and depressed, just give it a try. Do it when no one is looking at you, when you need a little boost and you will become powerful and confident, naturally, without effort. You will just be present.

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