Indium Corporation - Mailchimp

Learning to Shake Stage Fright

How’s it going guys?

Tomorrow afternoon, I, along with the rest of the Indium Corporation interns, are presenting the work we’ve done so far in our Mid-point Report-out Event.

We have essentially been preparing for this since the last week in June, having our Lunch-n-Learn development meetings aimed more toward personal branding and other aspects, or properly presenting yourself. Most recently, we went over communications preparedness with Indium Corporation’s Senior Marcom Manager, Anita Brown.

So, after weeks of professional development, and going over my notes countless times, I still can’t help but feel extremely nervous for this event. One thing that has put me at ease was that some of us interns have gotten together on our own and have gone over our presentations, giving each other friendly tips and other criticisms. Yet, I’ve never really been able to shake stage fright.

Another instance of this happened this past weekend. I was playing an acoustic set at an annual open mic night at Ole Sal’s Cafe and Creamery in Little Falls, like I usually try to do during the summer months. Except this time, more of my friends and family attended, so I wanted to push myself a little more in the sense of the music I usually play. I tried playing some harder songs, even songs that my friends who were attending wrote. One song I played, I hadn’t even completely learned until that morning.

The first song I played, “Love, Daises, and Troubadours,” was written by my friend, Brandon. As I went through the song, I kept worrying about things like if my voice was on the correct pitch, if people were watching, or if I was even playing the right chord. For reasons I can’t explain, my mind goes completely blank when I perform, so all of those things happened. I also get so apprehensive, I can’t stop shaking for the first few minutes that I’m up there, which in turn, makes it harder for me to play a chord without a dead note or accidentally muting a string.

By the second song, I started to loosen up a little more. I didn’t play the entire song correctly (I had learned it that morning), but I knew it could have turned out a lot worse. It was at that point that the nervousness and stage fright had started to really slow down, and I looked around the room and realized I was surrounded by friends, loved ones, and other supporters of the arts, who aren’t wanting to criticize, but to support.

Another thing that made me relax, which sounds strange at first, was that in-between songs, somebody had commented on my socks. I try to keep a light-hearted and non-serious persona when I play, so I usually wear a pair of  boat shoes with goofy socks. Ironically, they were the same socks I wore on my first day of the internship.

So, at that point, I was essentially stage fright free, then my friend Pat came up, and helped me play my last song, just showing yet another example of the support that was there.

Overall, it was not my best performance, but it definitely was a learning experience for me. So now I wonder, as this presentation is coming up, if I’ll ever be able to completely rid myself of stage fright. As of right now, I can confidently say, probably not. However, there a few things I learned from that night at Ole Sal’s that can help not only me, but anybody else struggling through it.

First, keep practicing. If you are prone to stage fright, you can’t just hop into a situation like this cold.

Second, along with practice, prepare for things to not go according to plan. Vince Lombardi once stated, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” Nothing’s going to be perfect in your presentation, and that’s okay! Just keep moving forward.

Third, don’t take things too seriously. Over-apprehension is never a good thing. You’ve put in the time and the work that needs to be done, so whatever happens will happen; worrying about it will do nothing but add unwanted stress.

Lastly, in regards to tomorrow’s presentation, everybody is there to support you, not watch you fall. Indium Corporation is a family, and as a family, we are all there to watch each other shine bright, and present to the best of our ability. I feel that once this is kept in mind, everything else becomes that much easier.

I look forward to presenting my report tomorrow on how Indium Corporation’s system of preventative maintenance record keeping has been changing for the better.

Stay tuned,

Steve