Surfing for Stage Fright:Articles 4 You

I love Google.

Google sends me email. Wonderful little snippets on topics in the news or on blogs that pertain to my interests, like public speaking tips, self-confidence, self-expression, etc. It’s very cool.

Here are a few articles I discovered, thanks to Rhona-May Arca, a piano and music teacher in Canada who has a blog called Musings at Musespeak.

Stage Fright — by Drew McManus

Should musicians (or speakers, for that matter) use performance enhancing drugs? Does it put them at an advantage if they do? This article talks about the use of beta-blockers and such.

This topic comes up a lot when I’m working with musicians. To take drugs or to not take drugs, IS that the question?

I personally don’t have strong feelings about it either way. If taking beta-blockers helps you enjoy performing and doesn’t get in your way, then by all means. Take them. But I’d try them first when you’re not in a performance situation so you can evaluate the effect they do have.

Stressed for Success – David Templeton

This is a great article that focuses on the work and philosophy of Dr. Don Greene, a sports and performance psychologist who has written many books on performing under pressure, like Fight Your Fear and Win: 7 Skills for Performing Your Best Under PressurePerformance Success: Performing Your Best Under Pressure and Audition Success: An Olympic Sports Psychologist Teaches Performing Artists How to Win.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from this article:

"If you can do a piece in a practice room—efficiently and well—then you have the technical abilities to do it," says Greene. "But then if you go on stage and are not able to execute the piece, it’s not a technical issue. It’s a mental issue, an issue of how you deal with stress. A lot of people then will go back to the practice room to work on a problem that wasn’t there, namely their technique, when the problem wasn’t their technique—it was their response to stress…

"…The mistake I see is that they never switch over from practicing practice," he continues, "to practicing performance. And then they go out on stage—where the environment is very different—expecting to do something they’ve never adequately practiced. All that time they’ve been practicing doing something they’re not going to do. They’re not going to go out there and rehearse, stopping and starting and correcting. At some point, a musician should start practicing performance—making an entrance, playing the piece straight through regardless of what happens, and then getting up to make the exit."

First Performance Jitters — by Rex and Carolyn Sikes

I loved this article, even if it was hard to read on that dark background.

This is about getting your mind on your side, asking the right questions, the ones that will focus your mind on what you want rather then worrying about what you don’t want. Here’s a bit of the article:

"What I additionally do is ask myself positive productive questions which lead my mind in the direction I want it to go in. For example, I ask myself questions like ‘Just how surprised and delighted I will be to discover myself having a marvelous time? In how many different ways can I discover myself delighted and excited at having the opportunity to perform? How much fun can I stand and in how many ways will I find myself enthused?…

In other words I want to get my brain to work for me. I want to say things like ‘I wonder how quickly I will realize how excited I am’ (rather than I’m nervous). Notice also I am not make affirmations – in other words I am not claiming something to be the case when it is not – I am posing questions in a particular fashion, which direct the mind and don’t set up conflicts with what you know to be true."

Okay, that’s enough reading for now.

Thanks again to Rhona-May. I enjoyed discovering your blog.

The Summary & Appendix toThe Diva’s 7 Secrets!

This concludes the Special Report, "The Diva’s 7 Secrets to Speaking or Performing With Confidence, Ease and Charisma." A quick Summary, and a new definition.

In Summary

So, there you go! The Diva’s 7 Secrets to Speaking or Performing in Public With Confidence, Ease and Your Own Kind of Creative Charisma.

How do they feel to you? Do you feel you’re ready to start integrating these Secrets into your expressive life? Can you feel how they could transform your communication and public self-expression?

If you’re ready to go for it, I suggest you start by focusing on one or two of the Secrets that really resonate with you now. Let yourself play with them in your daily life. All of these Secrets apply to all aspects of your life, not just when you’re speaking or performing for an audience. Then, play with a few more of the Secrets. You’ll discover the ones that are perfect for you.
These Secrets are explored and integrated in the advanced Unconditional Confidence® trainings, so if you want some coaching around these Secrets, please feel free to contact me through this blog or website. I offer several teleclasses, teleclinics and individual coaching programs that will allow you to fully integrate and expand upon these Diva Secrets.

Now, I promised to share with you my new definition of the word, Diva. 

A Diva is anyone who is connected to their own divine, creative source and true spirit AND is able to freely express themselves from that state of connection, in their life, work or art.

That’s my new definition. How do you like it? I know, it’s a bit nebulous. It’s a work in progress. As you will read in the Appendix below, I tried to use the best of the original definition yet make “Divahood” available to everyone. Because everyone has the ability to connect with one’s divine, creative self, one’s true self, and express oneself from that place of connection. Don’t you think?
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Secret #7You Gotta Have Fun!

This is the last Secret from the Special Report, "The Diva’s 7 Secrets to Speaking or Performing With Confidence, Ease and Charisma." There will be a summary, though.

Secret #7
You Gotta Have Fun!

I have a friend who always says, “Fun comes first!”

When it comes to speaking, performing or expressing yourself in any way, let your sense of fun lead the way. Let your priority be to create an experience that is fun for you. Be very selfish about this.

How can you have the most fun ever while you are presenting or performing? How can you create that for yourself?

Sometimes when I present this Secret to adults they just don’t get it. “What’s the point of having fun? Who cares about that? I need to make this sale, close this deal.” Or they say, “Fun? How can I have fun speaking in public? I just want it to be over fast!”

Let me help you out with this a little.

When you connect to what is fun and enjoyable and playful for you, you are connecting to your creativity, your aliveness AND your natural confidence in who you are. When you allow yourself to play and have fun, there is an energy that surges through you to carry you to where you want to go.

And when you allow yourself to have fun, your audience will find you irresistible. Even if they can’t understand a word you are saying, they will be drawn towards your energy.

Now, some of you may be saying, “But I’m talking about serious things here. I can’t be having fun!”  That’s just not true. You don’t have to be silly and irreverent to have fun. It’s all about enjoying yourself to the maximum and allowing your playful, creative energy to be present no matter what you are talking about.
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On Becoming Fearless:11 Things To Do If You’re Nervous

Do you know who Beth Lapides is?

Well, I can’t say I did until today when I was directed to The Huffington Post blog where Beth has an 11 point post that is pretty darned good!

I especially enjoy her irreverant style of writing and making a scary point. For instance:

So, your fear shows, and you know it, so more fear because now not only will you suck but everyone will know you’re a scaredy pants, which leads to more fear, more sucking and the vicious cycle that escalates into your nightmare life of homeless drug addicted despair! It doesn’t have to be this way! I can help! You may never become a public speaker on the level of Martin Luther King, or even Larry King or quite frankly even Billie Jean King but you’ll be able to focus, deliver and enjoy it more and suck less.


And she goes on to give you 11 Things you can actually do, my favorite of which is:

6. Steady yourself by touching yourself (not like that!). Hands in pocket, or on hips etc. This reminds you that you are still in your body – not floating outside it!

Check it out.

By the way, Beth is a writer, comedian, teacher, actress, artist and commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered. Turns out she’s also hosted a bunch of radio shows, AND she’s the creator and host of the legendary Un-Cabaret "which has been producing original, progressive comedy since 1990."

I love that title, Un-Cabaret. Perhaps I could start calling myself an un-cabaret singer.

Secret #6Allow Your Audience to Be Who They Are

Thus continues the Special Report, "The Diva’s 7 Secrets to Speaking or Performing With Confidence, Ease and Charisma." One more Secret to go after this one!
Secret #6
Allow Your Audience to Be Who They Are

Doesn’t it feel great to know that you have full permission to just be who you are when you’re speaking or performing? Well, it will feel even better when you give your audience full permission to just be who they are, too.

This means that if your audience is bored, tired, or disinterested, that’s okay with you! If they are crazy with enthusiasm, well, all right! That’s okay, too.

You don’t have to control your audience. You don’t have to take care of them. Unless you’re performing for a group of infants, chances are they can all take care of themselves. Allow your audience to be as they are. They may very well be tired. That’s okay. They may want to be somewhere else. That’s okay, too. Don’t take it personally. They are just being who they are in that moment.

I have a friend who is wonderful professor of psychology at a college. She loves teaching. She loves interacting with her students during class and they love her as well. Recently she told me that she can be having a great time presenting something to her students, but if there is one student in back who is falling asleep, she feels compelled to grab his attention and make him to join the party.

“Why?” I asked her. “Why are you focusing so much energy and attention on the ONE student who could care less when you have a whole room full of students who are hungry to hear what you have to say? Stay where the party is. Let that student sleep it off. Leave him be and stay connected with those students who are available to connect with you.”

I would tell you the same thing. If half of your audience seems to be falling asleep, stay available and receptive to the half that is paying attention. Allow yourself to be with those who are available for connection rather than wasting your attention on those who would rather be someplace else.
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Secret #5:Connection Comes Before Content

Thus continues the Special Report, "The Diva’s 7 Secrets to Speaking or Performing With Confidence, Ease and Charisma." I am posting these Secrets one by one every week. Until I run out.


Secret #5
Connection Comes Before Content

Have you ever talked with someone and immediately felt a connection? “Wow, we really connected,” you say to yourself. It’s as if something clicked in and opened up and there was an exchange of energy that went beyond the words spoken. You feel it, and if feels great.

When you are speaking with an audience or performing, you can create this same kind of magical, palpable connection. All you have to do is listen out loud.

This is not a technique or trick. What I call “listening out loud” is a state of being in which you are simply present, resting inside your own skin, and allowing yourself to be completely available, receptive and responsive to the presence and energy of your audience. It’s as if you are listening to your audience even though you happen to be the one doing all the talking.

Now, you’ve probably always thought that in order to be a great speaker or performer you have to go out there and give your audience all you’ve got with passion, enthusiasm and excellence. But in a way, the opposite is true.
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Secret #4You Can’t Make a MistakeBecause There Is No Such Thing!

Thus continues the Special Report, "The Diva’s 7 Secrets to Speaking or Performing With Confidence, Ease and Charisma." I am posting these Secrets one by one over every week.

Secret #4
You Can’t Make A Mistake

Oh, we’re so afraid of making a mistake! Especially publicly.

You were taught to fear mistakes at a very early age. You learned that if you made a mistake, you could be punished, either by your parents, your school or your society. If you did anything that was displeasing or judged as inappropriate by the adults around you, you were admonished, sometimes ever humiliated in front of others. You figured out that there must be appropriate ways to behave and that if you “misbehaved,” you were “bad” and subject to rejection, isolation and pain.

Now, that can really screw up a person’s sense of self-confidence in their own self-expression, don’t you think?

Even now, as adults, our fear of mistakes cripples so much of our potential creativity and confident self-expression. We’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, of forgetting what we mean to say, of doing something “wrong.”  Huge chunks of our creative, expressive selves have been strangled because we long ago decided these parts of who we are might not meet the approval of others.

A day doesn’t go by without someone telling me a horror story about how they were humiliated or made to feel “wrong” or unworthy by either a teacher or some authority figure. These humiliations and the habits we’ve formed around them continue to haunt us. In an attempt to stay safe, we’ve stopped owning and expressing our true voice. We’ve allowed ourselves to become silent and small.

But here’s the good news.

When it comes to self-expression, there are no mistakes. There are only spontaneous, unplanned opportunities for connection.

Keep reading…
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