Kill The Nerves – Take The Stage!

As many of you will have already heard me say, public speaking is one of our biggest fears, so much so that in the book of lists, more people feared this than death! With that in mind, my previous guises of barrister, radio DJ and stand up comedienne would seem like utter madness to some of you! I thought I’d create a note of the top three things that helped me get over stage fright in the hope that it may help you before facing clients or even the stage!

Added to my other “stage guises”, I decided to combine my LOVE of jazz with my hobby of the stage this year and learn to sing with the help of the beautiful Anna. Yes, I was wondering what were the benefits of singing the word “woof” constantly (including an embarrassing moment when one of my legal clients got hold of my “woof” CD and wondered what the hell it was!), but there’s a method to her madness & she’s helped me to vastly improve my singing voice, so thank you!

I also must mention that I was originally inspired by the cheekiness and IMMENSE jazz vocal talent of Sandra, Carl’s gamble in letting Sandra & I sing with his Jazz band in Lisbon & Vicky who does the most amazing shiatzu & amongst other things told me that my well-being required singing! So there were lots of signs telling me I should do this.

Anyway….last week, I was put in a position where I was performing in front of an audience of about 120 people. With my old “I’m not Aretha” story running in my mind, and being asked to open the show, I was feeling more than my fair share of nerves! About 10 minutes before I was due on stage I was desperately hoping I’d see Anna so she could calm me down. I didn’t. I think someone up there was urging me to learn the lesson for myself and I’m going to share with you the three ways that I managed to centre myself on the night.

How do I surprise and delight my audience?

The amazing Jolene asks the universe everyday to “surprise and delight” her. I love this statement! I decided to twist it on this particular night, by reminding myself that I was there to surprise and delight the audience, with more than just my Manolo Blahniks. By taking the focus to the audience and how I could best serve them, I forgot about myself and my lack of Aretha style vocals. At the end of the note, I have posted the video and if you listen carefully, you can hear the confidence shift from the beginning in comparison to the end of the song where I switched off the negative chatter & made the mental shifts I’m writing about.

Fake it til you make it

One of my favourite top tips when you’re lacking confidence is to borrow someone else’s. Remember John Cage in Ally McBeal? Before he was going to go into Court or approach a woman, he’d encapsulate the spirit of Barry White. Mad? Slightly. Did it work? Hell, yes! I decided to go a bit woo woo with this one and my person of choice was my higher spirit, an insanely playful & beautiful woman who doesn’t know the meaning of nerves! Every time I think about how she would want to be portrayed through me, the world seems like a happier, brighter and more loving place. She has become my “Barry White”!! I highly recommend that you try this – you will truly see the world in a different way.

Change your environment
Remember that old trick of imagining everyone in their underwear? Well, it works. It makes the audience seem a lot less scary than just a mass of people. For me personally, I had a think about what environment would make me feel more comfortable, rather than thinking about the audience. In the end, I decided to flit between pretending that I was singing in my car or to one person whom I was feeling very loving towards rather than worrying about the 100+ people there. Imagination is a powerful thing – just remember to use it in the positive!
And here’s the performance….

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