Dear Professor Snape,
I recently attended an event where I had to deliver a speech, and I was terrified. A muggle-born friend of mine insisted that all I really needed was, “Dutch courage” and that I had to, “Imagine the audience naked.”
After three double Firewhiskeys I prepared to grace the stage, whilst clutching my wand in my hand for dear life. The good news is I managed half of my prepared speech without a hiccup. The bad news? I wordlessly banished the clothes of every audience member in the auditorium.
What would you suggest I do to overcome my crippling, and frankly criminal stage fright? I’ve been threatened with a stint in Azkaban for indecent exposure, unless I can publicly apologize to the entire Wizarding Community for my recent transgressions.
Dear Regretful Ravenclaw,
They always tell you “be careful what you wish…” Lesson learned.
I find that imagining the audience naked leads to more distraction than good. You find yourself seeking out more attractive audience members, and essentially creating fantasies thereby focusing even less on the task at hand.
Try this instead. The audience is a mass. One faceless crowd. Pick 4 random areas. (You can choose people or faces, but random areas works best.) at various intervals during your presentation look to each one of these areas. People in that area will assume you’re making eye contact with them. You wil come off as confident and personable, while being neither.
Good Luck, and stay out of Azkaban.