A lot of Americans fear clowns—a full 7%. A fear of flying comes in at 15%, a fear of drowning comes in at 22%, a fear of snakes at 23%, a fear of heights at 24%. And what tops the list of American phobias? At 25%, the winner is: a fear of public speaking. It’s America’s No. 1 phobia.
That the subject of today’s post. In today’s post called “4 Essential Tips to Boost Your Confidence in Front of an Audience,” creativity coach Coleen Chandler describes how you can reduce your anxiety when you have to—or want to—perform.
When I started singing in front of an audience, I had no idea what I was doing. I thought all I had to do was to walk on stage and the rest would take care of itself. In fact, performing was a sink-or-swim affair, and I sank many times. It was a terrifying experience. Over the years, I learned that knowing your way around performing is in itself an art form. In this post, I will cover four essential tips that will help you boost your confidence in front of an audience.
Practice Your Craft
This is my No. 1 tip. Without it, the stage can feel like quicksand. Showing up on the day of the gig or recital unrehearsed is a surefire way of asking for trouble. Being well-prepared gives you the confidence of knowing that you are giving your art and yourself the best chance of success. You’ve put in the hours, conquered the difficult passages, worked on your transitions, and now you can relax and walk on stage with the satisfaction that—no matter the outcome—you did all you could. Make this tip your number one confidence booster.
Manage Your Mindset
Though I am now comfortable singing and speaking in front of an audience, it took me years to get there. Today, I understand the impact of thoughts on my confidence and I don’t let negative self-talk get the best of me. How did I do it? I gave a shape, a name, and a personality to my “Doom and Gloom” voice. When it shows up, I talk back at it, sometimes with kindness and humor, at other times with some irritation, as I yell at it to buzz off and leave me alone. It works. Try this: make each voice real, talk to it, and watch it lose its grip on you. Caution: Avoid doing that in public. Ha!
Prepare Your Entrance
Learning to walk on stage or enter a room with an appropriately winning attitude is an instant confidence booster because you will not second guess yourself when the time comes. A classical musician enters the stage at a normal pace, smiling and making eye contact with the public in a calm and assured way. A rock musician, in contrast, will leap on stage with large gestures and a loud presence. Each genre of music or situation will inform your entrance. Find out what works for you and rehearse it a hundred times the week before your show. Make it automatic.
Dress for Comfort
Check your clothing ahead of time and put on your full stage outfit. Move around, sit and bend down. Does it fit? Any place where you are feeling pinched? How about your shoes? Oh, the shoes! At some point, I gave up all notions of wearing feminine shoes; I was too miserable. I was busting my hips and shoulders wearing high heel leather boots while playing the electric bass for five hours in a row every weekend. I found a good compromise between flashy and comfy. The gig became pleasurable again and my confidence increased right away. Dress to feel empowered and comfortable.
Which one of these tips do you need to focus on to boost your confidence on stage? As a performer, your goal is to perform at your level of skills and competence—using all the tools at your disposal. These four tips will go a long way to help you nail your next performance.