So you think the audience is secretly judging and criticizing you? So did Kristin Stewart at last night's MTV Movie Awards.
Upon receiving her award for Best Female Performance, she proceeded to give her acceptance speech, clearly nervous. While balancing the heavy award in her hand, she lost her grip and it went flying several feet onto the floor as she desperately tried to catch it.
She sped back to the microphone, finished her speech somewhat incoherently and blurted out, "So... I was just about as awkward as you thought I was going to be."
Did the audience think she was going to be awkward? I doubt it. Did she create a self-fulfilling prophecy? Perhaps. When all you can think about is how nervous you are and how much you're going to embarrass yourself in front of the audience, you are practically making it happen.
Kristin may be shy and uncomfortable on stage, but she is a trained actor, and maybe next time she has to appear as herself, she can try my trick of playing herself as a character. There's a strong, confident young woman in there somewhere, the one that converses easily with friends, laughs and has a good time being herself.
Implementing some relaxation, breathing and grounding techniques might help as well.
But setting herself up for failure by assuming that she will fail... that's an unfortunate habit that needs to be broken!