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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Bob Landry Performance Anxiety (92* d) RE: Performance Anxiety 25 Nov 99

For years, I suffered from chronic stage fright and stuttered anytime I had to speak in public. Then I took the Dale Carnegie course which stresses that you should talk about things that you already know and break your speech into 5-minute segments. Things started to turn around when I began teaching courses on how to prepare financial projections. Dry stuff, but as my experience grew and I became more relaxed, I received a compliment when another coach told me that mine was the only accounting class she'd seen where the students were actually laughing. That's because I have fun and use a lot of humourous anacdotes in class. Although I always experience a bit of apprehension when I first meet a new group, I learned to start with the easy stuff and then relax as things get more complex. They're not there to criticize; they're there to learn. And I, the so-called expert, am there to help by relating some of my experiences, so why not make it fun.

On the musical side, I started to play guitar by picking up a buddy's spare guitar, learning a few chords and strumming along at jams. My idea there was to learn and have fun. Even though I was terrible, my skill and confidence grew as time went on. More recently, I adopted the practice of playing with musicians who are better than I am so that I continue to learn. In the last year, I've taken my music public. A local bar singer (with guitar and electric Ringo) lets me and a blues harp player sit in once every few weeks. Everybody benefits when that happens. The harp player and I learn more about what it takes to play for an audience. The paid musician gets to improvise, play blues lead and riffs while I carry on with the rhythm. The barflies get a fuller sound and tunes that are not in his regular sets. It does interesting when he starts a tune that I've never played before but if I catch the rhythm and chord progressions, I do a credible job. We played an incredibly tight rhythm & blues set last Friday night. As far as stage fright is concerned, my teaching experience helped me to get to the point where I'm simply enjoying myself and trust that the audience enjoys what we are doing. I just concentrate on making the best music I can and having fun.


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