Stage fright … the key to a magical performance?

Much has been written on the subject of public speaking nerves. If I want a suitable quote on this or any other matter, I look first to an American writer and humorist who never lets me down.

There are only two kind of speakers: (1) the nervous; and (2) liars.’ (Mark Twain, 1865-1910)

That gem, as true today as it was then, is the subject of a short video I recorded last year for my YouTube channel ‘The Mottoist.’

Like the inimitable and often-quoted Mark Twain, I said in the video that yes, most people are nervous when speaking in public. Not all, but most. There’s even a word for it now, ‘glossophobia’, and we’re told that 75% of the public suffer from it.

Not just the general public but stars from every genre of the performing arts. Dames Judi Dench and Janet Baker. John Lennon. Leonard Cohen. Stevie Nicks. Henry Fonda. The list goes on.

So back to my headline at the top of this piece, and maybe the key takeaway, from the aforementioned Stevie Nicks (she of Fleetwood Mac, if you’re not into rock): ‘If you have stage fright, it never goes away. But maybe the stage fright is the key to that magical performance.’

The good news: stress is helpful, provided you can manage it.

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Here’s a link to the video:

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