We all love to sing in the shower. One reason is because the acoustics are awesome. Your voice pings off the tiles and the sound of the rushing water usually makes just enough noise to block out any tiny imperfections in an otherwise Met-worthy tone. More than likely though, the real reason most people love it so much is because it’s one of the few places they can let it rip with complete abandon. There is no audience to make us feel self-conscious or judge us. However, there is also no one there to pay us for our killer vocals or spread the word about spectacular performance.
If you are not effectively getting your message out about your business you are doing the equivalent of singing in the shower. You may feel all the courage in the world writing your business plan, dreaming up your big goals, or designing a your beautiful new website, but unless you get out in front of people and show them what you can do, you are an audience of one. It can feel scary to step out and say “Here I am. This is what I do and I do it well, so well in fact, that you should pay me for my talents.” However, the alternative to taking this risk is remaining isolated in a stagnant business. Here are a few tips to get over your stage fright.
1. Practice. If you are nervous about launching your business or introducing a new product or service, find a practice audience. Find a friend of friendly client who will be encouraging, but also give you feedback on your performance so you can improve any weaknesses. Nothing builds confidence like experience.
2. Remember your big WHY. How do young marines find the courage to put their lives on the line in battle? They can do it because they are committed to their mission and believe in the value of their contribution. When you know why you are in business and believe in your unique value of promise you are more able to move forward despite any temporary discomfort.
3. Be a copycat. When we want to know how to wear the latest styles most of us pick up a magazine to see how the celebrities are doing it. We learn by watching and copying. If you feel nervous about putting yourself out there, find a few examples of people who you think do it well and emulate them. What mannerisms do they have, how do they dress, how do they speak? Even as infants we learn to eat, walk and talk by watching our parents. Choose a virtual mentor and copy them.
4. Fake it til you make it. Have you ever heard of method acting? The basic idea is that you do an action and the emotion follows. For example, if you need to cry for a scene, you make a sad face and you begin to feel sad. This may be a gross generalization, but the idea is the same for creating more chutzpah for yourself. Act “as if” you feel confident. Stand taller, smile more, act “as if” you are the most expert in your field. People will respond to in turn which will boost your confidence. It is a positive cycle which you can leverage.
You may not be ready for the Met just yet, but if you keep practicing, keep your goals in front of you, and act as if you deserve to be on the stage, you will find your audience and they will applaud you for your efforts.