Did you know that public speaking and public performance are some of the most common fears? Not many of us are immune to public performance anxiety. Even powerhouse performer Adele talks about her battles with severe stage fright. In day-to-day reality, performing to the public is something most of us have to face at some point, whether it’s a presentation at work, a job interview or a speech at a big celebration.


In order to help you prepare for your next public performance, here are five tips from CAE tutor and comedian Elizabeth Davie, whose award-winning comedy show, Super Woman Money Program, is part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2018.


  1. Prepare your speech or comedy material

Think about what you want to say, write a first draft and leave it a day before you revisit it again.

  1. Edit your speech or comedy material

Having done this preparation, distil your material into a series of dot points or prompts. Often we write differently to how we talk and performing written material word for word can sound stilted. These prompts will keep you on track but feel free to improvise.

  1. Practice out loud

Use these prompts to practice your material out loud to a friend, or in front of the mirror. Practising out loud builds your confidence and muscle memory, which will help on the day.

  1. Reframe the event

If you experience stage fright on the day of your performance, try to reframe it as excitement. Physiologically these two states are similar, and telling yourself you’re excited puts you in a better frame of mind. Take deep breaths into your belly, counting in for three and out for three to help keep you calm.

  1. Control your breathing

As you perform, take your time and keep breathing. Remember, the audience wants you to succeed. Break a leg!



About the tutor

Elizabeth Davie is a comedian, performer and writer from Melbourne who teaches the Introduction to Stand Up Comedy course at the CAE. She has created and performed live comedy shows for comedy and fringe festivals around Australia, and written and performed in Channel 31 TV shows. She performs regularly at comedy nights around Melbourne and is one of the founders of Peanut Noir, an experimental monthly comedy night in Northcote. Elizabeth has studied clowning and performance with Philippe Gaulier, Giovanni Fusetti, Philip Burgers and Deanna Fleysher. She won the Fringe World Festival 2018 Best Comedy Award for her show Super Woman Money Program, which will be part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2018 from 9 – 22 April.