Stage fright is one of the most debilitating fears for performers.  You may love your craft, whether it is juggling or comedy or music, but you’re scared to death of performing in front of a large crowd.  Here are some time tested techniques to overcome your fears, many of which I have used in my own career as a musician.

Practice Your Routine

The first step to overcoming stage fright is to make sure you have your routine down pat.  Practice constantly until you have all aspects of your performance memorized and you can perform it in an empty room without problems.  This will free your mind from worrying about messing up, which is a leading component to stage fright.

Record Yourself

Once you’ve gotten your routine down, the next step is to set up a video camera to record yourself.  Play back the recording and watch it as if you were an audience member.  Note any changes that need to be made to make your routine better and work on improving those changes.  Keep at it until you are happy with your recorded performance.

Start Small

Now that you have confidence that your performance is the best it can be, try it out in front of you significant other, best friend, or relative.  Someone who you know will be supportive and give helpful advice.  Ask them afterward what they liked and didn’t like.  Perform for them again and again until you are comfortable with them.  Then, perform for a few more close trusted people in your life.  Try to gradually grow this group of people slowly over time.

Get Out There And Have Fun!

Now that you’ve built your confidence in front of a small audience, it’s time to get out there in a real performance setting!  Look for small venues and opportunities to share the stage with other amateurs, like open mics or community events.

Bring Your Friends

Make sure the first few times you perform you bring those same people who helped you out in step 3.  It will put you at ease just knowing they’re out there and they will give you someone to look at who you know will be supporting you.

Connect With Somebody

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed with fear on stage, it sometimes helps to find someone who seems to be enjoying themselves and concentrate on performing for them only.  The biggest component in stage fright other than being unprepared is feeling as if no body likes what you are performing.  Seeking out the most enthusiastic and engaged audience member will help you feel like the entire room is just as into it.

Overcoming stage fright takes time and patience, but with a lot of practice and the right approach, you’ll be out there sharing your talents with the world in no time!