This week, I’m pleased to have Canadian recording artist and fellow Toastmaster Angela Evans. At our recent Toastmasters meeting, Angela’s role was to do Toastmaster Tips, a role where you teach the club something new. Angela came gave us some tips for overcoming stage fright. Thank you Angela! Here is what Angela had to say:
For tonight’s Toastmaster Tips, I wanted to speak about stage fright. In the music business I’ve battled with stage fright for many years, and I wanted to see how similar toastmaster tips were to musician tips. Naturally, they were almost exactly the same: The more prepared you are, the less stage fright you will have.
Given that tonights topic is taking our “next steps”, I decided to assume that we’ve done all the preparation and our speech is already at 95%. And what I can offer you are the Angela Evans secret tips to overcoming stage fright.
Tip #1 – When I’m about to go on stage and I feel intimidated, I will often take a few moments to growl. Try this now. Rrrrrrrr. I know it seems silly, but this simple trick can give you 1% extra on a 95% speech. I’ve growled in my car, I often growl in the washroom, and I’ve even growled in a porta-toilet. It somehow reminds you how powerful you are and gives you that extra ounce of bravery when you really need it.
Tip #2 – Just before your performance, it is best to take, what I call, a “diva” moment. Usually I like this time to last between 10-15 minutes when I can be completely alone to collect my thoughts and meditate. But sometimes time does not allow for this and so I discovered a very quick way to meditate. You close your eyes, and from behind your eyelids, gently look up and hold your eyes in this position for a very slow count of 10 while breathing deeply. If you can grab these 10 seconds of pure concentration, its enough to give you 1% extra on a 95% speech.
Tip #3 – One of my biggest “tells” has been avoiding eye contact with my audience while performing. I would prefer to perform with my eyes closed. But I discovered a way to overcome this by finding what I call a “warm spot” in the room. This is a place where I know I can look and feel calm. From this spot, I will force my eyes to look around and obtain eye contact, but if I panic, I will return my vision back to my warm spot. Soon enough, other warm spots will show up and I will gradually allow my eyes to connect with everyone in the room. Confidently looking into the audiences eyes will give you another 1% on a 95% speech.
I’ve learned that the last two percent of a performance is completely dependent on luck! But 98% is not half bad at all in my opinion!
Angela Evans is a Canadian Recording Artist. Her recent album, “Still Hope,” has been receiving international praise. In October of 2011, Angela was asked perform at the Global Woman Summit in Washington, D.C. to luminaries such as Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters. Evans is the recent winner of the 2012 Great American Song Contest in the Country Music Category for her song “Warm Hands.” She is also a loyal toastmaster.
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