Overcome Stage Fright Without Being Extroverted

A lot of people believe that they need to be naturally confident or extroverted to overcome stage fright.

Considering that introverts make up about one third to half of the population, and not all suffer from stage fright, that cannot be true.

That belief also neglects that stage fright affects extroverts as much as introverts.

If you take a look behind the curtain of any elementary school acting performance, you know this is true.

All the kids, ranging from the quiet to the loud ones, are nervous about how they’re going to measure up on stage.

For most of them, it’s one of their first times in front of an audience. The closest they’ve come to a similar situation was giving a presentation in class, which was likely just as nerve-wracking. This is often true even in other institutions of education, like high school or college.

Now, while it is true that introverts shun the spotlight in social situations, that doesn’t say anything about their ability to perform on stage.

Introversion, very simplified, means that one prefers solitary activities to social ones, small groups to large ones, and that one needs more time to recharge after too much sensory input or social interaction.

The only thing that might affect your ability to perform on stage is the recharge time. It means that you shouldn’t hold one-week, eight-hour-a-day workshops on a regular basis. If you do, you run the risk of burning out.

In fact, introverts have their own strengths they can play to.

Introverts like to spend time alone pursuing their interests. That means they are often experts on the topic they are presenting on. They also spend a lot of time practicing, for example for musical performances or the speech they are giving soon.

All this extra time spent studying their material gives introverts a sense of confidence in their abilities. In turn, that translates to a strong presentation or performance, even in the face of stage fright.

No matter whether you are introverted or extroverted, the reason you are nervous is because of your self-talk.

Self-talk is the voice inside your head that says, “If you make a mistake, that will be the worst thing in the world.”

The way to overcome stage fright is by changing that to something more rational, for example, “It’s okay if I make a mistake. Of course, it would be much better if I didn’t, but it happens to everybody and I can deal with it.”

That has nothing to do with your social tendencies, only with how you perceive the situation at hand.