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The Confident Performer

 The good pitch calls for performance and for many this leads to anxiety! Not surprisingly actors who perform on a daily basis, not occasionally like those pitching, spend a lot of time and thought on how to manage nerves when it really matters. A well written book for actors, The Confident Performer by Dr David Roland, offers wise advice.


 He discusses what he calls the Game of Anxiety, experiencing tension, butterflies in the stomach or nervous anticipation, and reminds us that “some self-doubt about your ability to perform is perfectly normal and understandable.” He offers sensible practical advice on handling nerves through ‘breathing awareness’ but his greater insight relates to the way you approach a performance. Do you see it as a threat in which case nerves can get the better of you. Or do you see it as challenge?


“When artists perceive their performance as a challenge, their mental, behavioural and physiological responses give them the feeling of excitement. Operating in challenge mode you interpret your nervousness as a readiness to get on with the job.” He also says: “If you are performing because you love what you do and wish to be successful at it, then perceiving performance as a challenge makes a lot of sense.”

While love may be a step too far, if you do not enjoy and do not get a kick out of pitching then you will not perform well. Roland concludes that:

 “Ultimately, the joy of performing is to bring to life a piece of theatre, music, or dance in a way that is inspiring for you and the audience.”

It is a great insight. If you do not enjoy pitching in a way that is inspiring for you, why should it inspire your audience?