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Stage Fright - Lessons From a Motivational Speaker

change changeability keynote speaker motivational speaker resilience


For most of my life, I was frozen with stage fright.

Now I can speak to a crowd of 1000.

So what changed?


I recently heard Australian comic Wendy Harmer on the Uncomfortable Conversations with Josh Szeps podcast say…


“When you’re on stage and looking at a crowd, you have to, as the performer, almost cradle that crowd. What you have to say is, I'm not going to drop you. It will be fine. You have to understand that that crowd is more embarrassed for you than you are for them. They don't want to be put in the position of watching you bomb because it's incredibly awkward and it's not nice and it's deeply unpleasant. So what you've got to do is you've got to say, I'll be fine no matter what. I won't drop you and we'll all be good.”


I stumbled upon this cradle-the-crowd concept early on in my magic career.


I was terrified of being humiliated in front of an audience and my audiences were tough: kids. Unlike adults who will sit through something they don’t like, kids have no social filter. They just walk out on you. Once one goes, FOMO kicks in and the others follow.


I learned there were certain comedic bits that anybody could do. If you just say the words and do the actions in the correct order people will laugh every time.


For example. Invite a 12-year-old girl and boy on stage. Remember that this age is socially awkward between the sexes. They stand on either side of you. Give the girl a coin to hold tightly. Ask her to extend her hand towards the audience. You take the boy’s hand and place it on top of the girl’s hand. Then I place my hand on top of theirs. Immediately I start the traditional bridal waltz music playing and I say, ‘Dearly beloved were are gathered here today’. The boy and girl part hands at the speed of light and ‘eeewww.’


The audience erupts with laughter. A huge exhale of joy. Every time.


So I found about 10 more ‘funny bits’ like this that worked every time. I had these spaced out throughout my 40-minute show. Now I knew that even if the stuff in between wasn’t going so well, another big laugh was just around the corner.


I could look the audience in the eye and let them know I’m not going to drop you. You’re safe with me. The confidence this gave me was huge.


This confidence came from putting words and actions in the correct order. In other words, a learned skill.


This is the point.  I enjoy a sense of humour but I’m not comedic-level funny. I learned the skill of making people laugh.


My confidence on stage is a skill, not a natural ability.


So what are you not trying because you mistakenly think you weren’t born gifted?




If we haven’t met yet…


I never considered myself good at change until I went from


-free-range kid to army sniper

-home movies to National Geographic cameraman

-fumbling card tricks to a professional magician

-never swinging a hammer to building a home

-high school dropout to published author

-business illiterate to building & selling a business

-stutterer to motivational speaker


Turns out I know how to change, I know how to make it simple, and I know how to stand on stage & make it fun so others want to do it too.


#change  #changeability #motivationalspeaker

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