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Joe Hanson: Tips On How You Can Reduce Stage Fright



Sweaty palms, feeble knees, and a speedy heartbeat are some of the ways anxiety manifests itself when you begin your hosting duties for an event.

Most times your body temperature changes and you become numb from the neck downward. Yes, for masters of ceremonies, this feeling isn’t new. It’s what I call: that regular guy.

There are ways you can cope with these feelings and kick into shape. Staying mentally and physically ready, prepared to climb that mountain.

Throughout the course of my career as a broadcaster/journalist, I picked up a habit that I’d eventually need in my profession as a master of ceremonies. So, how should you react when all of a sudden, these feelings begin to surface within 15 – 30 minutes of starting the event? Here are a few tips that truly work.

Do Some Light Physical Warm Up
There are simple exercises that you can do to unstiffen your muscles, neck, and back, allowing you to feel lighter. Take the shoulder exercise for instance – moving your shoulders back and forth and tilting your neck from left to right at the same time. For me, before hosting big events I get into the Mohammed Ali mode. Oh yes, backstage I am throwing punches along with little leg movements.

This helps me to see the pressure to deliver as an opponent that needs a beat down. Be warned though, you will want to do this type of physical warm up far away from people or the audience. I recall doing this at a car park. Unknowingly there was someone in another car next to me watching. Minutes later, he said, Oga are you okay?” It was so funny. This was one of the ways we warmed up before going on air to present during my days working full time on the radio. The idea was simple – sound like you’re really excited.

Please, avoid overdoing this physical warm up so you don’t break an excessive sweat. It is not a gym exercise.

Do A Vocal Exercise
Keeping your vocal cords clear so as to sound audible of utmost importance. Clearing your throat is what you will want to do. Rather than straining your vocal cords, drink a lot of water and try to hum on a high and low pitch. This works all the time, and I love doing this also when I have a voice over to deliver. So, drink water [room temperature] and hum on different pitch levels.

When you notice that your voice is starting to crack up, especially when you have to speak loudly to an audience of over 1,300 guests, in a very large auditorium, water is your best source of vocal strength. Not a cold soft drink or alcohol. This will see you through the entire event.

Take Deep Breaths
Taking in deep breaths can mean more than just a psychological process as it helps to slow down the speedy heartbeat and imbue calm, patience and peace of mind. Once you are prepared for the job, taking deep breaths is a way of getting ready to let out all you have inside of you.

Introductions, speeches, and games become memorable are easier to present when calm. However, be wary that your being calm does not lull the flow of the occasion. Remember you are not a speaker ready to deliver a lecture, you are an MC and you determine and control the mood of every event. Each event comes with a different type of vibe.

Try these really smart and quick tips when next you have hosting duties and I’m sure you’ll feel good to know you’re completely in control.

Joe Hanson is a Broadcaster | Master of Ceremonies | Content Producer Voice Over Actor and Media Consultant with 15 years of experience. Twitter & Instagram | @Iamjoehanson [email protected]


  1. Ozzie

    August 31, 2018 at 7:14 am

    Great tips! i suffered stage fright during my masters programme. I started at a really young age and i lacked confidence contributing even when i had a lot of great things to say. I overcame it! (Thanks to my friend Stanley) Firstly, i assumed every one in class were my friends and the classroom was another hangout spot. secondly, i made sure whatever i said made sense;rehears/organise the way i want to say it in my mind(briefly) and i’d even make a prior(proactive)research before coming to class. Lastly,Deep breathes worked like magic.This helped me a whole lot. I gained a lot respect from my colleagues and lecturers and school became more fun *wink*.

    I’ve never done the exercise but i sure would incorporate that when next i’d do a public(official) speech. Thanks Hanson.

  2. John Doe

    August 31, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Forget all these long stories. You can ELIMINATE Stage Fright for the entire day by simply taking a tiny 40mg tablet of Inderal Propranolol.

    It’s always best to first check with your physician before taking it though.

  3. Ozzie

    August 31, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Hey c’mon! Let’s assume that your child/niece…/student ask you a remedy for stage fright; would you recommend that ? Let’s get back to the basics please.

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