If you feel the urge to run away when you think of performing in public, you belong to a huge group of people who have stage fright. It can be downright daunting to merely stand and smile in front of a crowd of people. However, remembering the things below might help you with your fear.
THE DEER IN HEADLIGHTS
Though you might be centre stage, you are not at the centre of everyone's minds. People notice you far less than you think. This feeling is so common that it even has a name - the spotlight effect. So if you walk on stage looking as wide-eyed as a deer caught in headlights, it might do you well to remember that nobody is as conscious of your words and movements as you are. Moreover, people have something far more interesting in their very own palms: smart phones. Many people will be so absorbed in this device responsible for reducing their attention spans that throughout the time you're on stage, you might never even see the faces of these people. So no, people do not notice every single thing you do.
THE HUMILIATED MIGHTY
I realised that thinking about the many screw ups of famous people helped me calm down before giving a speech. No, I do not get sadistic pleasure from this, but rather a kind of reassurance that if they were fine after messing up, I will be too. From Steve Harvey at the Miss Universe pageant to the many models who fall on the ramp, these people will remind you that to err is human, and it's not the end of the world if you make a mistake in public. To calm down before speaking in public, I imagine the time when Agyness Deyn fell, not once, but twice, and continued walking. I tell myself that if she can laugh about her mistake, I can too.
THE PRATFALL EFFECT
The Pratfall effect is when a person becomes more likeable for making a blunder. If you believe that this cannot be true, think about Jennifer Lawrence's fall at the Oscars. Did you hear anyone say, “Ugh, she fell. How annoying!” You most likely did not. People loved her more for it. Besides, are you even doing anything if you're not making any mistakes?
ACKNOWLEDGING YOUR MISTAKE
This one means exactly what it says. If you do make a mistake, you can always admit it and apologise for it. The great Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.” There is no reason to hide in shame if you do end up blundering badly in front of people. People know that people make mistakes, so don't expect yourself to be absolutely perfect on stage or any other place where the public's attention will be on you.
If all the things I mentioned above don't help, just remember that you will be able to retreat to your room at the end of the day, because no, Shakespeare wasn't referring to a literal stage when he said, “All the world's a stage.”