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By Therese J. Borchard
Associate Editor


Public speaking is the king of phobias. That’s according to Taylor Clark, author of the insightful book, Nerve. He writes:


According to a 2001 poll, more than 40 percent of Americans confess to a dread of appearing before spectators. (In some surveys, fear of public speaking even outranks fear of death, a fact that inspired Jerry Seinfeld’s famous observation that at a funeral, this means the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.)


To get to the solution of this phobia — which can help us with all our other phobias — Clark tells the story of cellist Zoe Keating. Today her music is featured everywhere from National Public Radio to film scores to European ballets. Clark attended one of her performances and comments, “Keating seemed entirely oblivious to the hundreds of eyes watching her. She played as though she were in the midst of a dream, eyes closed, swaying languidly with her cello, utterly immersed in her performance.”


But it was a long way getting there.


Her process is intriguing and insightful for anyone trying to get over a severe case of jitters, or any phobia for that matter. Clark explains Keating’s starting point:


Stage nerves first hit Keating when she was fifteen years old—right when music becomes a brutally competitive dogfight for serious young orchestra musicians—and from that point on, each public performance felt like a battle for psychological survival.


Keating received nothing but bad advice, which is often the case when you are dealing with something psychological. Friends and mentors told her to practice more. If she was comfortable enough with her piece, then she wouldn’t feel nervous. Practicing, however, did little to alleviate her anxiety.


Here’s where Keating’s story takes a fascinating turn.


Read More …

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/05/10/conquering-performance-anxiety-a-primer-for-all-phobias/



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