Until you've had enough practice, it's terrifying to perform in front of a room full of people.
Until you've had enough practice, it's terrifying to perform in front of a room full of people. It doesn't matter the type of performance—speaking, singing, playing an instrument, dancing, acting, competing—most of us aren't just magically confident and without nerves when it's time to perform.
I perform in front of others regularly (speaking, presenting, and playing music) and I still get nervous in some cases. Every time those nerves creep up, I remind myself of these four things that arm me with the confidence and motivation to do a great job.
You will always feel more nervous than you appear. Nerves produce an array of unpleasurable side effects, but you will always be your own worst critic.
Think your voice is shaking while you're speaking? It may be, but your audience is not paying attention to it nearly as much as you.
Your audience isn't in your head. They are focused on your performance, not the subtleties in the way you create such a performance. Forget how you appear, because your audience never noticed it in the first place.
With the exception of team-based athletics, your audience is on your team. If you're speaking, playing music, or in a play, the audience is on your side. They want you to succeed. They aren't watching for the next mistake, they're waiting for the next tidbit they can take with them—information from a speech, a laugh from a comedy, or inspiration from a play.
One of the easiest and most powerful ways to adjust your audience's perception of you is to display confidence.
You're performing in front of people because your good at what you're doing, right? So, act like it. Be confident in your abilities and your relationship with and engagement of the audience will click into place.
If you're lacking some confidence (as happens to all of us), fake it. Pretend to be confident, even when you're not, and you'll be surprised how your body just goes along with it, and how those watching you believe it.
And no matter what, remember that in the end, people are just people, like you.
You can do it. You really can.