People give stupid advice for overcoming performing jitters.
1. "Just picture the audience naked!" Oh, come on! With obesity rates soaring, do you really want to imagine your co-worker in the next cubicle naked? As Jon Stewart would say, "AWKWARD!"
2. "Just go and have fun!" Yeah, right! Cause it's so easy to have fun when your freaked out, stone cold sober, with 500 people staring at you.
3. "Just be yourself!" Which "self?" You mean the same bitchy "self" I was when I was cursing out AT&T for cutting me off because I had gone OVER my UNLIMITED data plan?
I don't think people will pay to see that self.
Best advice for overcoming stage fright and having confidence is... drum roll please... PREPARATION.
If your preparation is a shot of tequila and the hope that inspiration will occur to you when you step on stage -- you might want to consider actually mastering some of the classic comedy formulas PRIOR to your performance.These formulas give everyone a method to the madness of writing comedy. And most comics and speakers will agree that stage fright leaves as soon as they get their first laugh.
On first look, using a formula might seem hack, or limiting. But, working within a structure actually helps creative people to have MORE freedom and get over fear. Formulas are like creative training wheels that will get you rolling.
The beauty of these formulas is that the structure disappears when you perform them and what emerges is your own unique persona and talent. In my NYC workshop, although everyone was working with the same formulas, they all sounded different. "The Reluctant Admission" formula, which I described in a previous blog, is used by Robin Williams, Chris Rock, and others. Why? It works.
For instance, using the "LIST OF THREE" formula, a comic sets up a pattern on the first two serious ideas and then "turns" on the third. Even George Carlin used this, "I like Florida; everything is in the eighties: the temperature, the ages, and the IQs."
The first two set up a pattern of expectancy and the third one is the surprise.
Now your turn! Write out the funny part to this setup:
"There are three subtle clues that your relationship might be on the rocks..."
1. You've stopped communicating.
2. You don't hug at night.
3. INSERT SOME CLUE THAT'S HUGE AND OBVIOUS!
There is nothing like getting laughs to build up your confidence and get you over stage fright.
You can post your jokes on my blog here. I love reading your comments.