Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, popularly known as Adele, is one of the most successful contemporary singer-songwriters. Her live performances are known to be ‘chill-inducing’ as the vocal powerhouse ‘sets fire’ to the stage. But did you know that Adele has stage fright? She tends to panic and feel anxious before she performs. 

This anxiety and nervousness is known as stage fright. Being nervous about going on stage is nothing to be ashamed of. Even the most successful artists experience it. But they also know how to overcome it. Let’s understand what stage fright is and explore some effective tips and tricks to overcome it.


What Is Stage Fright?

At its simplest, stage fright, also known as stage fear, is the fear of speaking or performing in front of an audience. Even the most confident person in the room can experience stage fright.

Someone with stage fear may experience the following kinds of symptoms:

  • Physiological Symptoms: 

These include an increased heartbeat, sweating, an upset stomach, chills, headache and nausea

  • Cognitive Symptoms: 

These can manifest as negative thoughts, a fear of failure, confusion and fear of judgment or ridicule

  • Behavioral Symptoms: 

They include long pauses or silence, stuttering and an urge to escape the situation

What Causes Stage Fright?

Anyone who performs in front of others is potentially at risk of getting stage fright. Whether you’re leading a business strategy meeting or delivering a farewell speech at a retirement party, the pressure can get overwhelming. Stage fright is often rooted in our own expectations of doing things perfectly. Some causes of stage fear are:

  • Focusing too much on others’ opinions

  • Fearing rejection or failure

  • Having unrealistic expectations from oneself 

  • Underestimating one’s skills and abilities

  • External factors such as the size of the audience, the importance of the performance, and so on

Can Stage Fright Be Prevented?

If you want to learn how to overcome stage fear, start by taking proactive steps. Here are a few  effective strategies to navigate and conquer your stage fright:

  • Rehearse multiple times until you feel confident. Use a mirror if needed or read your piece aloud to a friend who can provide constructive feedback. 

  • Focus more on the spectators and gauge their responses. Smile at them if possible. Your audience may smile back, which will be very encouraging. 

  • Try to relax before going on stage. Take a walk, listen to music or practice mindful breathing exercises that can help you calm down. 

  • Pay attention to your body language. Stand straight, maintain eye contact and smile. This will help you feel more confident. 

  • It’s a good idea to visualize success in advance. Instead of focusing on what could go wrong, focus on the positive outcomes. 

  • Don’t forget to celebrate after delivering your presentation. Positive reinforcement is a good way to break the cycle of stage fear.

But how to overcome stage fear on the day of the performance?

You may experience anxiety during your performance. Here are a few simple yet effective techniques to deal with stage fright on the day of the performance:

  1. Set A Time Limit For Jitters

It may sound strange, but on the day of the performance, you can allow yourself some time to get the jitters out of your system. Set a time to worry, and make sure you stop worrying when your time is up. This will help you walk into the room or on to the stage confidently and do your best.

  1. Have A Laugh

In addition to breathing exercises, laughter can be therapeutic and help you deal with nervousness. It shifts your focus and gets you into a positive frame of mind. Try to watch something funny on your phone or read a couple of jokes to relax before you go on stage.

  1. Get There Early

Visit the venue in advance. You’ll feel more in control when you familiarize yourself with the setting. Moreover, showing up early can help you feel better prepared and more composed as you don’t have to rush to make the presentation.

  1. Focus On One Spectator

This is a commonly used tactic of picking someone you know in the audience and looking at them for comfort. If it’s a room full of strangers, identify the person who’s nodding or smiling—it means that they’re listening to you and responding accordingly. This exercise works as a confidence booster!

Learn how to deliver your ideas with precision with Harappa Education’s Speaking Effectively course. It will equip you with powerful frameworks to enhance your communication skills. The PAM–Purpose, Audience and Message–Framework will teach you how to communicate ideas clearly by understanding your end-goal and audience. The nuggets on nonverbal cues will help you improve your body language. Banish stage fright and leave a lasting impression on your audience with Harappa!

Explore topics & skills such as Public Speaking, Fear of Public Speaking, Oral Communication, Speaking Skills & Oratory Skills from Harappa Diaries and learn to express your ideas with confidence.

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