5 Top Tips to Beat the Nerves!
Picture the scene. You’ve been preparing for months for a performance and finally the day is here. You have rehearsed the scene thousands of times in your mind and when you’re alone, you know you could rival the Leonardo Dicaprios of the world for the Oscar! However, the reality is not what you had rehearsed. Your palms are sweaty, your heart is pounding and every part of you wants to run away and get yourself out of the situation! Suddenly your mind isn’t on the task at hand – you’re starting to question how you look, why there is sudden phlegm in your throat and why you your voice is wavering. This is not at all what you planned!
We’ve all been there. Any performer will tell you that EVERYONE suffers from stage fright. But believe it or not, you can employ simple techniques to help turn those negative symptoms into things that actually help you! No really! Here’s how…
Adrenaline is your friend
At the time those feelings of your heart racing and butterflies in your stomach feel like such a handicap, but the simple truth is, if you learn to use them, they can be your best friend! All that’s happening in your body is adrenaline is spiking to help you deal with the situation at hand. So use it! Your body is helping you. Those notes WILL come out and you will remember your lines because your body is giving you extra energy to do it!
You may find your breathing will become quite prominent when you’re nervous. What you need to do is slow it down. Purposefully slowing your breathing down to a steady rate will not only lower your heart rate, but it will give you something else to think about instead of the nerves. Take a deep breath in for 4, hold for 4, and breathe out for 6. It will also warm up your breathing muscles. Win win!
Practice makes perfect
Have you heard the saying ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’? This couldn’t be more true! Knowing that you are ready to perform and being sure of your ability in rehearsal is half the battle of giving a good performance. Practice anywhere and everywhere. Practice in front of a small audience of trusted friends or family. The more times you prove to yourself that you can do it, the less nervous you become. Knowing in your heart that you know your lines and you can perform your song perfectly will give you the extra confidence you need.
Mind over matter
One of the best tips I was ever given for getting into the right mindset for performing was this handy little trick: a week or so before your performance, close your eyes and imagine yourself in the performance space. Really visualise how the room looks, where the audience are sitting, what it smells like, what you can hear etc… Now imagine you are cool, calm and collected and are giving the BEST performance you have ever given. Imagine the look on the audiences face, imagine the rapturous applause, imagine how brilliant you feel knowing you have done such a brilliant job. Now make everything louder, brighter and bigger. When you are feeling fabulous, touch together your thumb and 1st finger. Do this a number of times over the week always touching your thumb and 1st finger together when you have the feeling of doing a great job. Now, without closing your eyes, touch together your thumb and first finger – you should immediately return to that state of pride and happiness. If done correctly, you should find that whenever you touch your finger and thumb together, you immediately revert to that confident, proud and happy place. Just the feeling you need before you perform!
My final tip is probably the best one. Have you noticed how when you smile at people they can’t help but smile back? They say it takes 7 seconds to make a 1st impression. You DEFINITELY want your audience to think good things about you in that 7 seconds, so what better way than to send them a beaming smile! When you walk on stage, or into an examination room, walk with confidence and smile at your audience. Make eye contact if you can. They will immediately think you are confident and be on your side! They want you to do well as they have already decided they want to like you!
So go out there and knock ‘em dead! You know you can do it!
Principal Little Voices Hertfordshire West