by NICOLE BEARD
"Lights, camera, action."
Every actor knows the terrifying sensation of stage fright. But the saying “the show must go on” is more than true. Here is an actor's advice on how to conquer your fear and give that speech in class with nothing but confidence.
Know your lines: Sounds ridiculous, but if you know what you're saying, there's less stress over messing up. Getting up and not knowing what you're saying is the biggest fear when it comes to speaking in front of people. If you write something out or have bulleted points, that fear melts away.
Rehearse: Knowing your lines is important, but rehearsing those lines is twice as important. You can know what you want to say, but not practicing delivery, pacing, gestures, or presentation can result in a case of stage fright.
Improvise: Understand that nothing will ever go as plan. No matter how often you go over your lines or rehearse, it’s inevitable that something will go wrong. Prepare for the worse by allowing yourself to mess up and having a plan B.
Have fun: Every actor will tell you that if you're not having fun, you're doing something wrong. Your speech is a performance. You are supposed to be making people feel something. Whether it's discomfort, happiness, sadness, envy, guilt, or love, you have to give them a reason to feel it. If you're not having fun, why should your audience?
Don't take it so seriously: Sure, you want to have the best speech (or maybe just a speech that can pass). However, when you start to take it seriously, you forget that messing up comes with the territory. You can't control everything, so just do your best.
And if after all that, you're still facing the monstrous stage fright, then do what we actors do: burn down the set and run. Or don’t. Probably don’t.