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How to beat stage fright, an Open letter.

After every event someone always asks me, how do you do this?? How do you get up there without nerves or worry of looking stupid while acting outlandish and saying silly things??

After 4 years of people constantly asking me this question, I did some research. Did you know 3 out of 4 Americans have a public speaking anxiety, 75% of America! So how did I become one of the lucky ones, part of the not-so-silent 25% minority? Before we get into it, let's review the first event I hosted when I nearly crapped myself from anxiety over 8 years ago.

My first hosting gig

My first official event as MC was the SDSU HTM Freshmen Graduating Ceremony, the school of HTM from which I graduated asked me to do it, mostly because I'm loud and enjoy speaking out in class, especially when it isn't my turn to speak. Also whoever let me wear a bowtie with a neck beard to my first MC gig needs to be water boarded...

There was probably about 500 people in the hall, I get up there and immediately everything I prepped flies out the door, the sweat is gathering under my receding hairline, my stomach is turning without it's blinker on, chaos inside me ensues.I introduce myself and ask how everyone is doing with a weak response from the crowd, I say, "Come on let's get louder and try again!" Absolute fucking barf, rookie move, and the event chugs along in that same energy.

Long story short, that event is still an intrusive thought almost a decade later, but this brings me to our topic today. Even though I looked stupid and was obviously nervous, how did I overcome and start SDHosted?

Well for starters I have no fear of looking stupid because I've looked stupid my whole life, and that's okay. Some people were put on this Earth to do math, some were put here to look stupid, accept the role you play in the world.

They wont remember

Stage fright is a lot like taking too much acid at a music festival, you believe everyone around you is engrossed by you, judging your every move and flagrantly staring at you as you slither through the throngs of life, whether it be conquering the acid dragon to get to main stage or delivering an enthusiastic sales pitch to 30 people about brake pads. It's your brain creating these anxious feelings, they aren't real.

Humans have roughly 70,000 thoughts a day, people won't fixate on that silly thing you said for the rest of their lives because there is simply too many things to think about! Human thought is like the news cycle: It's always updating and forgetting.

Some people don't know this, but I was a comedian before starting this company, being a comedian was a new "throng of life" for me so I read books (yes I can read) about how to be a comedian. A few lines stuck with me about stage fright, this one is a favorite:

"These people you perform for, they won't remember what you said 48 hours from right now, so why are you worried? Say/do what you want, if you do it with confidence maybe they'll come back, if you perform scared they definitely won't. If they come back then great, if they don't, sucks for them."

Public speaking is a performance in itself, this is prolific advice because people are TERRIFIED to say the wrong thing. Consider an intrusive thought of the cringey thing you said 7 years ago, I guarantee you they don't remember it, but you sure do. Those are the thoughts that keep us from extending outside of our comfort zone, the worry of a new intrusive thought to dominate bed time for another 7 years. But ladies and gentlemen, growth happens outside of the comfort zone and we are essentially plants with thoughts and feelings, without growth we will die. Humans love letting the past dictate their future, we love it more than doing acid at music festivals, but how can you change your future if you only act according to the past?

confidence isn't real

The quote above is also great because it applies to life. Literally everything In life demands confidence, any job worth having, any thing worth doing, any relationship worth having, to get there you had to have displayed some level of inert confidence. Give up the social constraint of caring how people perceive you, it is a HINDERANCE that destroys confidence. Instead of focusing on your words humans focus on how those words could be interpreted, why focus on the outcome if you haven't given the process a go??

Confidence is a fun phenomenon because you can never truly tell who has it and who is faking it. Honestly I've been moving through life under these guidelines for so long that I cant remember if I'm faking it or I actually have it lol, but hey it's working! So if you think you lack the confidence, I can confidently promise you have it, you just have to lean into it.

Life is a stage

To quote William Shakespeare,

"All the world is a stage, the men and women merely players."

I like this quote a lot because I understand it to mean that all of humanity is playing a part. We spend our whole lives developing a character, a personality, the cult of who we are as individuals, but it's still an act, a performance. When you visit your parents, do you perform the same as when you are with your friends? We as humans can change who we are on the drop of the dime, the Daniel writing this isn't the same Daniel you'll see at Twisted Trivia tonight. If anyone tells you that you can't do something, public speaking or anything in life, they are performing a part for themselves not for you, deflecting how they feel about themselves onto you. It's up to you to pick which performance you react with, will you let their misled words bring you down, or will you perform with vigor and confidence to prove them wrong?

Traditional advice

Do you ever try the traditional methods of public speaking, imagining everyone in their underwear or staring at the back of the room? I don't do the underwear thing because I dont wanna be bricked up on stage ya diggg, but the back of the room thing actually does work. It keeps your head from burrowing into the paper you're reading off of and makes you look engaged!

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Make practice fun, make it enjoyable. Read what you've written in different pitches, different voices, get to know your material in different ways, you'll learn the words on paper while dissipating anxiety or worry because you're having fun with it. If you're having fun with it, you're radiating fun vibes, your audience will vibe with your vibe and thus the vibe will be a vibe of fun, not a vibe of anxiety! No cap, on god check the vibe, this makes a difference. That's a vibe.

Daniel's bad tip of the day

People say to picture the crowd in their underwear to beat stage fright. Show up to your speech in your underwear to establish dominance early-on, this also gives the crowd something to stare at so they tune you out, make all the mistakes you want! Based on gender, bananas or balled up tissue will increase the desired effect.

Final Thoughts

Anyone can do this, I truly know it. I think one of humanity's greatest faults is we love comparing ourselves to others. It's caused war, famine, genocide, among other things. Just focus on you, be true to yourself and who you are, don't let other people dictate how you see yourself. Remember, confidence is fake and if you say something stupid your audience will forget it in 2 days. Thanks for reading this, if you have any questions please contact us and follow us on instagram! @SDHosted


Daniel G.

Owner of SDHosted

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