February 23, 2024

Ep #7: 7 Tips to Conquer Stage Fright

Stage fright is a massive deal for artists and performers of all kinds. No matter how confident you are in your performance, stage fright can strike at any time, and it can feel incredibly uncomfortable. However, I have seven practical tips you can use any time stage fright kicks in and you’re not sure what to do next.

If you want to know what to do when your brain starts freaking out about being on stage, this episode is for you. Whether you’re getting on stage or not, I believe we are all performers in some realm of our lives. Whatever you want to improve at, today’s episode is packed with transferrable value because our brains all work the same way, and they all freak out in the same way.

Tune in this week to discover seven practical, actionable tips you can hold onto for the next time you feel stage fright creeping up. I’m discussing how an overthinking brain contributes to stage fright, helping you understand the chemical reactions of the brain, and showing you how to prepare physically, mentally, and emotionally, so you can perform when you need to.

If you enjoyed today's show and don't want to worry about missing an episode, be sure to follow the show wherever you get your podcasts. Click here for step-by-step instructions to leave a rating and review, and don't forget to share with other people who might benefit!

What You will discover:

  • What’s going on in your brain when you’re experiencing stage fright.
  • How to implement today’s lessons about stage fright in any area of your life.
  • My tips for properly preparing for a performance.
  • How to address your overthinking brain when stage fright takes over.
  • Why your audience is waiting for you to excel as a performer.
  • 7 tips to conquer stage fright.

Listen to the full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:


Welcome to The Confident Performer, the only podcast that guides ambitious, driven performers and entrepreneurs to show up authentically and confidently both on and off stage. If you are ready to make an impact in your life and community and start living your most amazing, empowered life, you are in the right place. You already have what it takes to make it, you just need to see it. And I’m here to show you how. You ready? Let’s go.

Well, good day, sunshines. Welcome to episode seven of The Confident Performer. I wanted to talk about something that is ever popular and something I coach on so often, stage fright. Stage fright is such a big deal for so many different people and artists and performers. And as you listen to this podcast, you will find that I truly think we are all performers in some realm. That is truly why I created this podcast because it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing in your life. All of this information is transferable.

And if you have ever thought to yourself, man, I’d really like to be the best at this, whatever your field is, whatever your realm of work or focused success is, I really want to be the best at it. Or at least the top five at my job or the top ten at my job or the top ten in my field. So I want you to focus, this information is completely for anybody. All of this works for everyone.

I’m going to give a few different concepts based upon stage fright and then you can really like I said, transfer that information to your Zoom meetings. Or you can transfer it to meetings you’re nervous about or you’re uncomfortable in. I know a lot of people will say, “I feel really, really nervous when I meet with my boss or I feel really, really nervous when I’m asking my teacher if I can have an extension on an assignment,” or whatever it may be. So I want you to think about this.

First and foremost when we get the feeling or the activation of the stage fright or the anxiety inflicted in our bodies. It typically is coming from the primitive response of the brain. It is that kind of fight, flight, freeze or fawn. The brain is saying, “Why are we doing something that’s so uncomfortable?” And it will go into this mode or seek to protect us in this mode. And so that seeking to protect us, it will grasp at a number of different things to do. And we will typically have that kind of leaned in connotation to, well, I just want to get out of here or I’m just going to freeze. I have no idea what I’m thinking, what I’m saying.

And then when you activate that part of the brain, what happens is that trumps knowledge, that discomfort or activated I’m so uncomfortable, what do I do? And your body’s saying, “You should just freak out.” And then your brain’s like, “Yeah, we should freak out.” And our hands start shaking and our throat starts shaking or feels tight. And you can listen to a lot of different performers or even people.

I remember early on in my career when I was young, I would listen to people and if they were, I don’t know how to explain, kind of shaky voiced or any of their delivery felt hesitant or uncertain. I would not easily buy into whatever they were telling me to do. And I think I’ve referenced this before, but I’ve gotten fired a few times from jobs. And it’s great that I’m an entrepreneur, obviously. But that kind of looking back, I realized it was a lot of those nuances that would just really turn me off to a lot of things and a lot of people and a lot of information transferred.

So here we go. We’re going to jump into some of these foundations, these concepts. I’m going to give you kind of levels of this. They’re going to be the first and foremost levels. And then what you can actively do within whatever the calling or the moment is. I’m going to give you some kind of custom things that you can create and kind of solve your own self in those moments in your own particular field of work.

So first and foremost, prepare, if you are called to do anything, if that is audition, if it is going and speaking in front of your class, if it’s going and speaking because you have a board meeting and you’re a board Chair. Prepare your information. Do not think you can go in there not prepared and it’s not going to translate.

I sat on this board for a bit and there was a transfer of Chairs, and it was very interesting because there was one time where the transfer of Chairs, the first person that it was transferred to, they had a very big struggle coming into the game. And would take about 10 to 15 minutes to seemingly prepare in front of us, which was for one, a huge waste of time and for two, for someone like me who’s not really thinking too much of, well, she needs to get her life together or anything. I’m not judging what she’s doing.

The fun part for me, because this is the work that I do, I actively observed what she was doing. And I watched her almost kind of physically be discombobulated. And it was so curious to me. And I loved being curious about it because then I thought to myself, you know what, I’m going to use this information later on. I didn’t know I was going to use it on a podcast. But it’s just very, very good and useful information and one of the main reasons you want to prepare. So for one, people take you seriously. And for two, you don’t waste your time and you sure as heck don’t waste anyone else’s time.

You also want to hydrate. Now, for example, my voice sounds really, really, really tired. I’ve had a very full day. I’ve had a very full weekend. I’ve actually had a sick kid for the past almost month. And we’re kind of going and exploring some options and things right now, but my voice is really, really tired. It’s also nearing one o’clock in the morning where I am, as my coach calls it, California time. So you want to hydrate, and you want to actively hydrate.

I’m currently doing 75 Hard and that is Andy Frisella’s kind of mind rearrangement to kick off some good habits and we usually do it at the beginning of the year every single year starting January 2. Because we still party like rock stars on January 1. So hydrate, keep that very, very important thing at the forefront. So I do about a gallon of water a day.

Now, you want to limit overthinking and I know that I say that like, just don’t do it. And I know people suffer greatly from overthinking. If you suffer from overthinking, first of all, that is my favorite thing to work on and to conquer and to tackle as any of the mindset work that we actively do. So reach out to me, DM me, go to my website, inquire, ask questions. I want to answer the questions that you have, especially if you are an overthinker.

I want you to really decide that just because your brain is thinking all the things, you don’t necessarily have to believe everything that your brain says like it’s an emergency. And I want you to think about that. So if you decided, hey, I’m going to go on and I’m going to give this speech. I have a 10 minute speech. I’m going to go on. If you truly did everything your brain said to do, oh, my gosh, I need to drink some water. Oh, my gosh. I have to pop my knuckles. Oh, my gosh, I feel like my back is aching a little bit. Oh, I feel like a weird scratch on my arm. I wonder what the lady in the front row is doing. She’s not even paying attention to me.

All of these things, if you were to truly kind of stop and kind of if you can think of that phrase, that if you were to stop and throw stones at every dog that barked along the way, you’d never get to your destination. And if you were to think of that angle. I want you to really, really take in that information. And any time you overthink, your brain gives you all of this stuff that it thinks you have to buy into. Again, that’s that primitive response, that let me protect you. We’re super uncomfortable.

This is the most important part because you are super uncomfortable. This is what I want for you. I want you to acknowledge and accept. If you can actively acknowledge, I’m doing something outside of my comfort zone. I know I’m going to be uncomfortable, I expect to be uncomfortable. And now, in this moment, I’m going to accept it. Now as I accept it, I’m also going to feel some of those feelings that come along with, so the shaky hands, the overthinking process again, you can slow that down. You can choose to slow it down.

You can choose to say, “You know what? I’m not going to listen to everything the brain says I need to do.” One of the best things to do in that moment, to slow that brain down is to yawn or to sigh or to breathe. Now, there’s a number of things. You can do circular breathing. You can do square breathing you can do and all of these things you can obviously look up and there’s a ton of different videos. And TikToks and YouTube and all that kind of stuff will take you to all of that information.

But first and foremost, when your body is saying, “Okay,” that heightened intensity, if you yawn, sigh, or breathe into that, you neutralize and regulate the system. So the body can become regulated again, really activating all of those, I mean, they call them the feel good feelings, but those feel good chemical hormonal releases at the same time. So decide that you’re going to do what you do regardless of how it is. So if you do it and you have practiced it and you have prepared, you are fully hydrated, you are limiting your overthinking.

You acknowledge the discomfort, you accept it, you yawn, you breathe, you sigh into that and then you just do what you do. Know that people are waiting for you to do well. Know that people are sitting there waiting to listen to you, waiting to glean new information. And the people that truly want to learn, are going to soak up your information. They’re waiting for content.

So because I’m in the coaching world, I have gone to a number of different conferences and I learned from a number of different artists and people, and I love women in business. One of my favorites right now, I’m just fangirling over is Codie Sanchez. She’s an entrepreneur and businesswoman and man oh, man, she is in my brain right now. She’s my masterclass. So she’s phenomenal.

Her energy, her focus, her intensity, her delivery, her foundation of thought processes, her structures, just fantastic, truly impressive. And what she does is, she goes on and when she delivers her information or her content or her agenda, she goes in the way she is. She doesn’t sugarcoat, she doesn’t go in fancy job interview lady. She is, in my opinion, sometimes a dirty little curser. And it’s one of those, I love it. I love it. I love the way she talks. I love the way she works and operates because that allows a message to be received so easily because of her genuine, authentic delivery.

Now, I have this concept that I try and live truly every day. And people will tell me all the time when I’m coaching. People will say, “You know what I love? I just had this thought the other day or I just prayed about this in the car today and it’s crazy that you’re thinking about it. It’s crazy that you’re coaching on this. It’s crazy, you would bring this up.” I don’t think it’s crazy. I think those things are divine.

I think those foundations and conversations I get to have with the people that I coach and that I’m very close to, I have a strong vested interest in their success. And so I think of their line or their trajectory of success often. And I also pray on that. I actually say, “You know what, Lord? Allow me to be the vessel that opens up and does not allow my limitations to stop the message from flowing completely through me.”

Because the more people can hear, understand, be inspired, and look to my words as resources to potentially make them feel better, make them achieve, make them realize that your dreams are absolutely worth living. That is the most important, and that’s what I care about. And that is truly what I think Codie does extremely well, extremely well. She talks so deliberate and so direct and so intentionally that the information she is conveying even if it’s so intense, as far as the level of information, it’s still very understandable and that is impressive to me.

So when I say, “Do what you do,” be very well versed, very well practiced, very prepared in your line of work, whatever it is. Dress the part. Dress the part. There were times that when I had my kids especially, I looked a little bit like a hobo and not in a bad way. No judgment to hobos, but it’s one of those, I just kind of looked at what is she even wearing and I’m talking about myself. But I think to myself, back in the day where it’s, oh, sweet heavens. So what I ended up doing was I ended up hiring a stylist because I did want to have a more streamlined uniform.

Now, since then I’ve just kind of really kind of worked with a lot of different people and a lot of different designers and people that I love and their work. And one of my favorite designers actually does a line full of just kind of your everyday basics that are really cool go-tos. Her name is Ripley, Ripley Rader, and she’s just really, really good. She has the ever popular Ponte pant, it’s on Forbes and just a great kind of super trending viral pant right now. And that wonderful woman, I had the opportunity to work with her on a show.

And she’s just a really cool lady, really down to earth, really awesome, gives back to a ton of people. She really focuses on inspiring women and girls. And she actually has a podcast and a special camp, Camp Rocky Road, that focuses on mentoring young girls. So we have aligned platforms and really, really fun just overall fun information to kind of get out there and share and do good work together. So super great there. So dress the part there.

Those foundations obviously, regardless of your budget, you can always go and find something if you’re like, hey, I’m not trying to spend a lot of money. That’s fine. You can go to places in your hometown and find thrift stores or vintage shops or whatever you’re doing there, but just a few ideas.

Now, when you’re going into that realm of focusing on what it is you do and what you do well. I want you to imagine, like I said, people are going to expect your human parts. They’re going to expect, she has to breathe, she has to swallow. So when you rush those words or when you think to yourself, oh, my gosh, I’m just going so quick. And then you forget to swallow and then you do what I call an emergency swallow. That’s where you’re in the middle of a phrase, and then all of a sudden you’re just talking so fast and then you swallow, and then you kind of choke on your own kind of saliva.

That intensity is very, very off-putting and it really diverts from your overall message. So decide, I’m going to rhythmically breathe. I’m going to rhythmically swallow. I don’t have to rush or talk so fast. So I work with someone in the arts world who has an incredible brain and her brain, and her mouth have this kind of battle sometimes. Because she thinks so quickly, and she speaks so quickly and it’s incredible to watch because she’s just a really beautiful speaker too. But it is at times you kind of watch the brain and the mouth be at war.

And instead of that, deciding to kind of slow down and really kind of activate that, you know what? I’m not hurried. I am just content. I am not in a rush. I’m totally inspired. So just deciding to slow that down, that’s going to be super, super, super important.

When you’re up there and you’re on stage and you’re speaking. My favorite thing is when people say, “What do I do with my hands?” And it always makes me think of that stepbrothers or I can’t even remember what it was, where he kind of, I think he lets his hands come up a little bit and was like, “Put your hands down. Just put your hands down.” And when I say that to other artists, it is, put your hands down. So don’t give your pants a massage. There’s no reason that you have to feel the fabric in that moment while you’re on stage. If you want to explore your fabric texture, you can do that at home, in the privacy of your own home.

Other than that, relax your hands, open them, palm open them up. And I really, truly open them and shut them and open and shut them, not on stage, but backstage. And then I lay them gently by my side until I begin to speak. And then I activate them because I talk with my hands like a wild woman. But that’s the fun part for me and that’s how I drive.

Don’t fidget. Another movie I think of, I watched when I was a kid over and over and over again. I was a latchkey kid. And yeah, we watched Pretty Woman to where we memorized it, but I think it was the TBS adjusted version, so that, no shame on my mom there, but definitely it’s one of those, don’t fidget. He had told her in the movie, “You look very beautiful and very tall when you don’t fidget.” And that’s true, not only a beautiful Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts, but that’s true of anyone, do not fidget.

Now, in this final saying, imagine success. I want you to imagine that the work that you are doing that the reason you are speaking, that any time you are on stage or sharing information or singing, I want you to decide that you are going to be a success. That your points, that your position will be received, and you will be a success when you’re walking on and during and after. Now, I use the word, decide often, that is the foundation of any belief structure. If I decide to be open to other people’s ways or concepts then I can learn them, I can retain them.

If I sit down and I decide that I am the smartest person in the room, I don’t learn anything. I don’t learn anything at all. And then in my opinion, that is a waste of time. That is a waste of my time. One of the most special things I’ve learned in the past couple of years, because don’t get me wrong, I did, there were rooms I did sit in that I thought, sweet heavens, I know I’m the smartest person in this room. And I got out of those rooms. I changed the situations of those rooms. And then I got to rooms where I am not the smartest person in the room, and I am glad.

I want to be around people whose brains fire my brain up, who activate my way of growth. So I want you to decide that you are open to being a lifelong learner because every single person has something to teach us. And I’m talking about, I learn literally from everyone I talk to. I learn about a whole new way of life I never even knew about. I was talking with this beautiful woman the other day, and she was just sharing how she is a pediatric hospice nurse. I didn’t even fathom that that was an actual every day I go to that, that’s my job.

Don’t get me wrong. I know those things exist. I know they’re out there, but they’re not in my circle. And so I’m not thinking about that. And when she brought that information up, it was so impressive to me that just her foundation of what she would have to be able to handle, her emotional bandwidth, and I was so impressed. So I want you to really think about being that lifelong learner.

Now, this is the final tip I’m going to share and this one I’m actually going to do a whole other podcast on. But I want you to think about the sound of your voice. And I want you to know and realize that you can adjust, and you can manipulate your voice because it is a muscle. If you go out there and your voice is shaky and your voice is weak and your voice is inconsistent in breath control, I want you to know that can be changed. And I want you to call me because I can help you.

And I want you to know that especially if you have a platform and you are using that platform to speak. And you have not thought of actually changing the tonal quality or the delivery style or the foundation of how your actual voice works as a mechanism that is going to set you and your message back. And I usually don’t make those profound deliberate statements like that, but I know this to be true and studies have shown it. Studies have shown that it’s very, very, very hard to retain information in sound that you are not familiar with. It does not sound confident.

It does not sound deliberate or intentional like I referenced before. So I’ll finish talking about that like I said, on another episode. But those are the foundations of really covering that stage fright, of really eliminating that. Remember brain primitive response and preparing. Are you prepared? Are you hydrated? Limit your brain from overthinking. And that overthinking is, don’t do it. Don’t buy into it. Don’t believe everything the brain says. Acknowledge and accept that you are going to be uncomfortable, lean into that discomfort, yawn, sigh and breathe. Do what it is that you do so well.

Relax those beautiful, gorgeous hands. Do not fidget, be that pretty woman and just decide to act natural. Imagine success. And remember that the voice sounding desirable is going to let the message be heard, received, and retained.

Thank you so much for tuning in. Please share this information with as many people as you can. Obviously if you have not had a chance to go rate and review, do that as well because for one, I love it and I want to have the feedback. I really do want to have the feedback so I can do the things that I really care about doing. And I want to share those messages that are important to you as well, so kind of share all that info. Thank you all so much. I know you’re going to have a beautiful day, just decide to, just decide to, my beautiful people. Take care and be well.

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Thank you for listening to today’s episode of The Confident Performer. If you want to learn more about living your truth and showing up as your most authentic, beautiful self, visit www.amyadamscoaching.com. See you next week!

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