Tuesday, August 17, 2010

ON OVERCOMING SHYNESS....

One of the posts I've had the most personal responses to recently was one in which I mentioned my shyness and the cure that's helped me, Bach's Rescue Remedy.

I posted this photograph on Facebook as a joke about my forthcoming Kilimanjaro preparations, but it does seem to make a difference for me.



And here are some of the other things that help me overcome shyness when it comes to readings and public speaking etc ...

1. Making a note of all the things I've missed in the past because of it. And how much I would have enjoyed them. So I don't want to miss more in the future. Do I?

2. This tip I read which is that a speech should contain a fact, a feeling (created by talking about the senses) and an action. Just thinking about how I am gong to include this gives me some kind of structure apart from just panicking.

3. Remembering that no one else notices how nervous I am. Just bluff it out and smile. Also remember that people actually want me to do well. They are not the enemy. Although strangely easy to forget this sometimes.

4. In my head unless I'm careful, I often have a scenario going on about how I'm going to trip over, that I will start crying, that ... etc etc. The strange thing is that these thoughts are almost a little comforting - as if it's not really going to be as bad as that. How could it be? But that's all a bit negative, so I try to think instead about what people (the audience) want to hear. How can I give them that? Just replacing the first scenario with this calms me. Gives me something other than myself to think about, because it's not about me anymore. It's about everybody else. I remember listening to a talk by Dr Wayne Dyer in which he said that he sat in his dressing room before any presentation asking 'how could he serve'? Well, I don't have dressing rooms, and I'm not so sure about the serving, but I like the sentiment.

5. Have the first few lines ready, and prepared. And how I'm going to finish. And to practice this a few times in front of the mirror. Smiling. And bluffing it out (with a few drops of rescue remedy to hand..).

What tips do you have? Let's compile a list.

8 comments:

Megan said...

Thank you for these tips, I definitely share these anxieties. For me thinking of the lovely feeling chatting afterwards helps a bit, as does a glass of wine ( :

SARAH SALWAY said...

Yes, I am with you on the wine. Although one glass = good, two glasses = I just think I'm good, and also very funny. In fact, so funny I laugh at my own jokes a lot, which is a bit of a disaster!

Sophie Playle said...

I suffer from nerves too. Just reading about preparing for a speech makes my heart beat fast!

I had forgotten about Rescue Remedy. I remember me and a friend using it in school for exams. Didn't know they made such a variety of products!

Good tips, by the way. The one about faking it works best for me. Also, though it sounds almost cruel, seeing other people act nervous makes me feel a lot less nervous!

JJ Beattie said...

I used rescue remedy when I had to do my viva at art college because there were four of them and only one of me and I was terrified. It worked. I didn't know if it had a placebo affect or if it was something else but I didn't care. I'd definitely try it again - particularly if I was ever reading my work out loud. (I'm nervous just thinking about it.)

Matt said...

Thanks for your ace piece on overcoming shyness. Being a bit of a performer myself, I always reckon the main thing is to keep the audience and yourself entertained :)

annell said...

About shyness -- as an artist in order to find oneself, it is necessary for one to loss oneself. And when we actually loss ourselves we can really express ourselves, without tripping over the "big I". If we are thinking about what are people going to think, we can't do anything, but perhaps become aware it is difficult for people, put them at ease. I think also if we are passionate about what we are talking about. It's going to be great. Maybe the "what" we are saying, is more important than we are?

SARAH SALWAY said...

Not cruel, Sophie, I think you're right about other people. It's all part of the realisation that we're all human and most people are struggling with shyness etc too. Speaking in public is the third biggest fear - that's weird!
Yes, JJ, it works for me so I don't care if it's placebo or not!
Matt, all I can say is lucky you being a performer. Would love to be able just to stand up and enjoy myself - normally I do in the end, but I could do without the angst before!

SARAH SALWAY said...

Exactly, Annell, but I wonder if that's why artists and writers struggle sometimes too. There has to be an element of vulnerability in the making, and therefore it's hard to forget about that during the presenting. A case of a split self?