Friday, May 25, 2007

Getting Over Stage Fright

May 24, 2007, Hotel Sofitel, Manila
Wrote this during the 38th National Marketing Conference
Seated at the speakers couch

I think I just managed to get over stage fright. I did the unthinkable today. Something I never, ever imagined I’d put myself into. Never in my wildest dreams.

Funny, I have photos in this pose in all of my speaking engagements. LOL.

A lot of people wouldn’t believe this, and a friend of mine was simply shocked when I told him. I have stage fright. I quit taking piano lessons when I was a kid because I hated doing recitals. I always volunteered to do papers in school reports just so I wouldn’t have to present in class. I always got bulol and froze up during presentations. I got through grad school where you have to make many, many presentations, but I never got over it. The last statement I got from my defense panel chair in grad school said, “Iha, you are ready for the world, but you have to get over your shyness.”

The audience, about a thousand marketers.

Me shy? A lot of my friends would laugh off this statement. They’d tell you I’m definitely NOT shy. I am, especially when it comes to doing presentations and crowds. Notice how quiet I get when I’m speaking to more than 2 people. Unbelievable, but true.

Today I spoke to an audience of a thousand marketers. I was driving the stage manager crazy backstage because I was already hyperventilating. Can I just cry a bit now? LOL.

As I said, never in my wildest dreams.

So what did the trick? I prayed. It’s my job, but I’d like to say that to me it’s not just another job. My work is one of my many passions and nothing, not even stage fright should be an obstacle to meeting my goals. And, I prayed again.

Warm fuzzy feeling.


  1. Anonymous2:20 PM

    I feel you. I quit piano when I was eight simply because I didn't want to do recitals... EVER! Felt like my pieces were too corny to be played in a hall full of people. I'm currently a music major. Now, I have to get over it and do two. =S Oh boy!

  2. Congrats, my friend. Ang husay. I wish I was there to witness it...

  3. Ako baliktad.

    I love talking to crowds, and look forward to speaking opportunitites - I had a lot back in the bad old Internet days but none lately.

    But I'm shy in meeting new people up close.

  4. @kris - well, we have to get over it sometime. I'll never become a virtuoso though, but I still play the piano once in a while. Good luck! :)

    @christina - I wish you were there too! I was hyperventilating badly backstage haha.

    @miguel - buti ka pa. No worries, I will make daldal you when you get back here.

  5. Anonymous7:48 PM

    love your pic. sana malinaw ng konti, pero you look absolutely cute.

    im happy for you. must be overwhelming kaya ka na-stage fright.

  6. Anonymous11:49 PM

    I'm scared of big crowds. I do the same thing for group projects. I do the research and printing just as long as I don't have to talk in front of my classmates. I also took piano lessons. I'm a *decent* player, but haven't touched a piano for years.

  7. @andrew - that's why I ended up being a nerd LOL.

    @ladycess - it was quite overwhelming considering that the audience were marketers. :)

  8. Anonymous11:47 AM

    I totally understand what you're saying. Pareho tayo. Stage fright also became the reason why I would not want to take the role as leader in school. I sincerely don't know how I was able to make it through college. (Maybe this is why I'm working in front of the computer rather than work up a crowd.)

    Anyhow, congratulations to you! That event is surely going to be one of your milestones. :)

  9. oo nga.. maganda sana yung photo kung mas malinaw.. pwedeng speaking or singing.. ;)
    mabuhay si aileen!

  10. @atomicgirl - I would've hoped it would be the last time I'd do such a thing, but it's part of my job and I actually got several invites after my talk for other speaking engagements. Yikes!!! :)

    @thegrapebunch - `Sensya na po about the photos. I just thrust my cam with Wilson (from PMA) just before I went up onstage haha. I'll try to get photos from PMA :p

  11. Congrats! A thousand people? Galing naman! =)

  12. @markku - yup a thousand. Isker!!! Thanks :D

  13. Anonymous1:55 PM

    and i thought you were singing in the picture!

    i also had my share of stage fright, about 10 years ago. it was my first mission travel in dhaka, bangladesh. we were in a workshop, and i was to talk on the implementation of the project we were handling. i was allotted 25 minutes. gosh! i didn't know that 25 minutes was that looooong. we only had acetates at that time. and gosh, i was speaking in front of 4 city mayors and about 50 NGO representatives, and many others. they didn't know me anyway. until now, i don't know how i managed.

  14. Congratz po! Mmm.. ako po mas hindi takot pag nagpeperform sa stage, mas comfortable po ako na humarap at kumanta sa maraming tao kesa po sa isa o dalawang tao lang..hehe..

  15. @sexy mom - I can definitely not sing by myself onstage... I did several times for the responsorial psalm for mass and I'm quite happy we decided not to push through with that program. Hehe. It's most especially hard when you have dignitaries and CEOs right in front of you right? But we all survive somehow :p

    @ivan - good for you! Kaya pala shy ka kapag nagpapakanta kami sa iyo! Saludo ako sa iyo, I can never sing on stage!

  16. Anonymous9:50 AM

    Prayer calms the nerves, soothes the soul, streengthens the spirit andand calls on God's angels to do your bidding.

    May stage fright ka pa pala nyan. Paanona kaya kung totally nawala na.. Baka sa TV ka na namin makikita doing your own show ala Oprah.

  17. @jun - hehehe, hindi po ako telegenic! Hihihihihi.

  18. hello...may i join?

  19. I still don't think I would be able to do that in a very long time pa..

    Same tayo ng ginagawa, i'll do the paper work.. basta hindi ako ang magsalita sa harapan.. pero kapag dinaigan ako ng mga classmate ko sa pagkamahiyain, I end up talking.. pero grabe talaga ang kirig!