Ten Ways to Reduce Stage Fright

By Dick Brooks

1. Know your craft intimately. Practice each effect until you can do it without thinking. Some magicians rehearse a trick or move six months before performing it for an audience.

2. Do as many shows as possible, even perform for free whenever the opportunity comes up. The more often you perform, the less important each individual show becomes. Some of the finest performers may do 20 or more shows a week and have to "grind" out a show from time to time. In such a situation, however, it is important not to lose the sense of excitement for the show, the presentation, and the audience.

3. Picture the results of success. Don't picture failure. Whatever you see vividly in your mind will come true. Imagine yourself working the finest jobs, in the largest places, in front of the most important people.

4. Get to know as many professional entertainers as you can. It makes you realize that they are "just plain folks," and the success tends to rub off. Attend conventions and gatherings of your peers.

5. Read everything you can about your business. See all you can. The more information you have at your fingertips, the better you will become.

6. Think of all the possible mistakes that can happen during your performance and plan on ways to cover them should they occur.

7. Take a good deep breath just before going on. Some performers like to run in place, or pace back and forth to increase the adrenalin in their system at show time. Don't overdo it. Learn to channel your nervous energy into an exciting performance.

8. Relax with your audience. They want you to be good. After all, they don't want to see a bad show. Talk to them as a friend. Don't yell. Let the microphone do the work. Make contact with the audience by looking into their eyes.

9. We can't leave out the oldest trick of all: Imagine the entire audience in their underwear. Even the most important audience will become ordinary this way.

10. Most important, have fun when you perform. The audience will know it.
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Adapted from Hocus Pocus 1978/Newsy Vents 1980. Copyright 1978/1980/2011


  1. Great I love when you post ways to improve one's performance it also applies to different areas of my life.
    Thanks & God Bless

  2. P. Grecian5/28/2011

    I see that I put my comment about this beneath the cartoon below instead of up here where it belongs. Sorry, Clinton. I wasn't paying attention!

  3. Anonymous5/30/2011

    I find a great way to reduce "Stage Fright" is to simply, Love your Audience! Of course, you must know your craft, practice, be ready to add lib, and all, but if you are prepared, and go out and try to bond with and entertain your audience you will knock it out of the park every time.

    Here's something else to think about. Don't feel you are failing because the audience isn't rolling on the floor laughing, kicking, and screaming. Audiences are different from each other and many folks will come up to you after a performance that you might think didn't do so well and they will compliment you on your work. Some will study how you move your puppets, how you interact, and things you may not even think about.

    If they clap at the end, and you get a few laughs, throughout the bits, you will also get these individual compliments! Just relax, go out, do your act, and enjoy being on stage performing to folks who could otherwise be someplace else but chose to come and see you!

    Regards, Joe "Capt.Joe" Radle </:O)