3 Tips that will help you stand taller on the Stage
One of the biggest fears people have, apart from going bankrupt and getting eaten alive by your favourite deadly predator, is the fear of the stage. The fear of public speaking. And though its not deadly as the other two examples I gave, the fear of being on stage makes people perspire, hysterical, panicky and the adjectives could go on longer than some people’s gig on stage.
And while, we are at it let me tell you I had my own experience and qualms of being on stage during my school years. While most people (in audience) would only notice the performance and judge it to be good or bad, it is usually the performer’s responsibility to take into account (and improve) his poise on stage to be comfortable with the gig. I realized somehow I was fortunate enough to have the aplomb of being and performing on stage. And so, after accounting for my own experience and reading and listening to multiple books and podcasts, I have come up with a few tips that could help you get over the abominable fear of stage (in order of precendence):
- Physiological Sighs
So the first two tips come from a podcast I listen to (Think Fast Talk Smart) and they have this beautiful scientifically proven tip about a ‘Behind-The-Stage’ prep you need to do.
So they say that deep breaths when anxious before an event/situation does not really help out. Instead exhaling emphasised breathing can help calm the neural system. You want to double inhale and then exhale (1–3 times). Basically, take a breath in and then do a double intake of breath. The reason is as follows: Inside your lungs are alveoli that collapse inside the lungs when you are anxious. Double inhaling helps re-inflate them and then offload Carbon Dioxide through them while exhaling.
I am no med student but I think that sounds right. You could try this in any other anxiety-provoking situation too. Give it a try and let me know if it works. I have not really been nervous before a performance so I couln’t relate much to that. Rather, I would get nervous during the performance, in which case keep reading…
2. Framing the Situation
I believe this should work when things get wacky in your head about what you are doing on stage facing an auditorium of audience who are as clueless about your performance in the beginning.
In that case, before stepping up on the podium always remember that your audience is more keen on knowing what you have to share with them rather than judging you by looks or stance. If you have managed to pull an audience for your gig, it means you have something awesome to say and if that audience has turned up for it then they are definitely there to know you better (as a performer).
This has helped me a lot during my school-time performances on stage. It does take some time to imbibe that thought and remember it every time but when you do, you will feel much less pressured by the audience and only be at the mercy of your exuberance.
3. Remembering the Body Language
Once you have mastered the two techniques/tips above you can proceed to the final level where you start accounting for your body language. This might not be suitable for all environments but it’s a must to remember incase you happen to be a stage performer. There is no science to back up this last tip but it makes a lot of sense when you experience it in real.
Remember that when you are on-stage, moving backward unnecessarily is considered a sign of nervousness. Either move sideways or towards the front. Do not move backwards unless you are not able to avoid it as a part of your gig. You could also simply regulate eye movement to reach everyone in your audience rather than physically moving. Your gestures should help you convey the message more than your words. This will not only help the audience understand better but also prevent you from deterring. This is important as it is the time for your audience to feel more involved and excited about what you are telling them.
So there it is. I am sure these tips will improve your sangfroid during stage performance and presentations and make you sound and look more intrepid. However, it is important to refine your content before any performance so that its apt for the audience you are going to perform. And I am not sure if I could end this article with a quote better than this one:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”~Maya Angelou