So if nerves and anxiety are a problem for you, you’re in good company.
At a conference I chaired a few years ago a famous personality gave a talk, which the audience loved. Imagine my surprise when afterwards, she came up to me in a very nervous state in need of my re-assurance. The audience would have been amazed to realise how unsure of herself that particular speaker was. I was a professional actor for twenty years and saw at first hand how some household names could turn into nervous wrecks before performing on stage. Drink was often their salvation and how they managed to get to the end of each performance without forgetting their lines used to amaze me. (Not a recommended strategy.)
Tommy Cooper was one of our most successful comedians, admired by his peers as well as drawing huge audiences. Surprisingly (but like many comedians) he suffered terribly from stage-fright. He once said to his friend Eric Sykes “People say I’ve only got to walk out on stage and they laugh. If only they knew what it takes to walk out on stage in the first place. ” Cooper’s anxiety led to his heavy drinking from early in his career.
Great speakers such as the Greek orator Demosthenes, William Pitt, Disraeli, and Roosevelt suffered agonies of nervousness. Winston Churchill was notoriously anxious about speaking in public. Read how he used his Success Strategy to manage his nerves.
Nerves are not limited to presenters and performers. I coach sportspeople ( for media & personal presentation) and am surprised to hear how nervous they are before a match. David Beckham is famous for his nerves and has even known to be sick during a match when the pressure gets to him.
Rock star Kelly Osbourne says she has never experienced nerves as much as on the opening night as jail keeper Mamma Morton in the West End show, Chicago. She was so nervous she threw up minutes before the performance.
Singer Barbara Streisand developed a crippling fear of forgetting her words. The fear was so great she stopped giving live concerts for more than 20 years. She had been traumatized by forgetting the words to three songs at a 1967 concert in New York. She eventually used a Success Strategy to manage her fears.
Joan Baez has been singing in front of audiences for fifty years. She has suffered from such excruciating stagefright she could be found huddled in a corner of her dressing room. She has even been known to be actually picked up and put on the stage. Hers was a serious phobia which she addressed with therapy.
Jill Balcon, (actress and mother of Daniel Day-Lewis), who regularly performs live readings, recently admitted to “wondering why I keep putting myself through it”, so bad are her nerves. She explained that as expectations rise, so does her anxiety. And fear of forgetting his lines became a serious problem for Laurence Olivier at the height of his career.
Nerves have always had a grip on actor Sir Derek Jacobi (I,Claudius, Brother Cadfael), so much so that an hour before his honorary degree was conferred at Sheffield Hallam University confided he was ‘absolutely terrified’ of his moment in the spotlight.
The award winning classical actor Anthony Sher (The History Man, Mrs Brown, RSC) who may seem supremely at home in front of an audience, confessed to suffering from stage fright so badly that it almost ended his career. “It felt like a form of madness, the terrible feeling that would build up in the afternoon as the evening performance came nearer.” Read how he used his Success Strategy to manage his nerves.
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All our coaching programmes and courses will address your personal confidence. We will build on your strengths and give you realistic strategies to apply to your work and life. We are happy to speak with you to see how we can help you overcome your anxieties. See The Confident Presenter or Our Services to give you more of an idea of our approach.