But surely performers don’t get it, right?
Even the biggest of professional performers have had to battle stage fright at times during their career.
Join me and my special guest magician and mindreader Paul Newton as we discuss the whole topic of stage fright, and look at some of the ways he managed to start to overcome it on his journey.
And if you are watching the video version, stick around for a mid-credits bonus scene!
Note – this is currently an automated transcription, so some of the text might not be wholly accurate – we are working on improving this over time!
You’re listening to the Keith Blakemore-Noble radio show, helping you transform your deepest fears into your greatest strengths. Here’s your host, Keith Blakemore Noble…
Keith: [00:00:30] Hey welcome, welcome to another episode. Glad to have you here. Now, my guest this week, I have a magical guest this week. In every sense of the word, good friend of mine by the name of Paul Newton. I’ll just tell you a little bit about Paul. Paul is an amazing new breed of professional magicians, infuses groundbreaking temporary magic with traditional conjuring. He has a long history of providing business insights, using psychometrics and skills in business. Beyond that of purely an entertainer. And he is working with some really big names these days, we can’t mention at the moment. It will come out in due course, but definitely something to keep an eye on. That’s my guest today. Paul Newton. Hey, Paul, how are you doing?
Paul: [00:01:17] Hello, buddy. How are you? I’m good, thank you. How are you, sir?
Keith: [00:01:21] Very kind of. You are. I am fabulous, as always. Thank you. Fabulous, as always.
Paul: [00:01:25] Good man. Good man.
Keith: [00:01:27] So we’ve we’ve heard a brief description of who Paul is. For anybody listening or watching who hasn’t yet had the pleasure of encountering Paul. Who is Paul? What’s he do?
Paul: [00:01:39] Oh, don’t. Don’t. Basically, if anyone hasn’t seen my work already, run and hide and get out. I’m a magician, a mind reader. I mess with people’s heads for a living. So I literally make a living out of meeting lovely people, going to really nice parties and entertaining them. I help with TV shows, I do stage shows. I help big corporates with their people and some of the issues of… Well, magine if a mind reader came in strong. Steal your passwords. How are you going to stop them?
Paul: [00:02:16] Ok, yes. So that’s what I do. Yeah. I mess with people’s heads for a living.
Keith: [00:02:24] Great! And how do you do that – close-up, on stage, or how?
Paul: [00:02:29] All of the above. So I did this weekend just gone is a great example. On Thursday, I was in a car park just doing close up magic for a corporate. And so on the Saturday morning, I was at a polo club up in Richmond entertaining some very, very gorgeous and far too expensive cars. I had Saturday evening I was in a guild hall doing a stage show for a charity. And then Sunday I was in a garden party. So all of the above, anything from close up. And I swear I do the closest tricks you will ever find all the way out to helping with TV shows.
Keith: [00:03:11] Quite, quite the range. You say all of the above. Quite a range. Yeah, pretty impressive.
Keith: [00:03:17] So I’m I’m guessing. I’m guessing you don’t get you don’t get nervous when you’re when you’re doing these things. You don’t get you’ll get stage fright.
Paul: [00:03:26] You know what? Sometimes it creeps in. But now I understand it and I know why there it doesn’t bother me a lot of the time now if I walk on stage, I feel like the audience is going to give me a nice big hug. And and if I tell the story, well, they want me to do well anyway. So most of the times I walk on stage, I feel love from the audience and I get the most massive grin on my face. It’s ridiculous.
Keith: [00:04:02] Yeah, beautiful.
Paul: [00:04:04] Yeah. Yeah. And I love it, mate. I love it. And the thing I did at the Guild Hall on Saturday, it wasn’t a stage per se. It was it was one big room. I was given a clearing area and tables were surrounding the area. There was about 250 people there. And you know what? When you can walk out and have applause from the audience before you’ve even done anything, how lovely is that? It’s just them showing you. They wanted you to be there. And then they give you enough respect to give you a couple of minutes to prove yourself. And then once you do, you can see their mindset just changes from “who’s this bloke in the Trilby hat? to “what the hell did he just do? Let’s watch him. Seriously. Let’s keep an eye on him.” And you’ve been in the audience when you’ve seen so much stuff. I love that moment when the audience just go. “We love this. Do more.”.
Keith: [00:05:09] Yes. Yes. Yes. The whole “What the heck?” moment.
Paul: [00:05:16] Yeah. And when you see a skeptic go…
Paul: [00:05:23] My I love that I’m getting goosebumps thinking about it now and I find it is fantastic.
Keith: [00:05:29] It’s fantastic. And so you you say you get a little and sometimes you get a little maybe a little frisson of a slight nervousness there. But yeah, in terms of stage fright and “Argh” stuff, none of that. So it’s always been the case of have you never had stage fright?
Paul: [00:05:48] No.
Paul: [00:05:50] When I was when I was a kid, when I was a lot younger, the thought of kids trying to explain this as nicely as I can. I have never been the thinnest man in the world. I will never be the thinnest man in the world. I’ve always known my imperfections. And did the hat part of the reason for the hat is on bold. I don’t like being bold. I hide on bold, but that has kind of turned into a trademark. It really started out because old and was cold. A lot of these imperfections that you know about yourself. When I was a kid, I thought if I go and stand on stage, if I go and speak in front of people, if I go and try and sing a song, they’re all going to spot all of those imperfections. And the weird realization is they’re done and they don’t care. So a friend of mine explained this to me beautifully a few years ago. He said, you know what, bro? Like a glass. You can you can see it in mine. My lovely wife just bought me a glass of squash. This works perfectly. It holds. Drink. That’s all I needed to do. It holds drink. I drink from it. I am more than happy with that glass. Now, if you start getting a microscope and looking at that glass, you’ll start see little cracks, cracks that you and I can’t see. And it’s holding the drink. Perfect. You start to see cracks and the closer you get to it, the bigger those cracks open up. And the more in-depth you look at it, the more flawed it looks. There’ll be bumps or be bits that we can’t see with our naked eye, but the glass knows they’re there.
Paul: [00:07:42] It thinks that everyone will concentrate on the. Fact is, I don’t care. It’s a glass. It does the job perfectly. The only time it won’t do that job perfectly is if it gets smashed. Yeah. And I just think human beings are like glasses. We panic about that, we know and we think everyone else is gonna panic about them as well.
Paul: [00:08:07] No.
Paul: [00:08:09] So when I was a kid, I used to worry too much about the flaws. I used to buy too much about the war. If this goes wrong nowadays, as a grown adult, I just go for it.
Paul: [00:08:22] Which it was. Was there anything that can I can I happen to. To enable this change?
Keith: [00:08:27] Was it kind of just something that evolves? And you got the realizations?
Paul: [00:08:31] That there was a couple of things. There was a couple of things. The two big are actually weirdly I’ve just been put into a Facebook chat group with the load of people that I knew when I started out in the entertainment world, and and they’re threatening that we should all go out for a drink sometime. Now, I’ll be blatantly honest and you know this I hardly ever drink now because I drive too much. It’s just not worth it. So I’ve got a nasty feeling. The ongoing to me of these guys probably have two drinks and I’ll be gibbering like a wreck, but it will be funny. So a video. It’ll be fun. So two big things happened. Number one, I got dragged into a youth theater group by a couple of friends of mine and I had had a couple of drinks that day. Now, when I got dragged into this youth theater group, they said, oh, we need we need a strong male presence that can sing well. I stupidly said, I can sing, asshole. So I then found myself auditioning for the bar of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Well, well, an apparently slightly drunk. Teenage Paul can sing. So I did this audition and I won the part. So get that a little bit of alcohol. They got rid of the fears, got me onstage, and that’s the first time I ever went onstage in any of that sort of capacity.
Paul: [00:10:13] The other one. The school I went to back when I grew up, it wasn’t the nicest of schools we used to joke between my friends that most of us our career prospects was. Are you going to be nicking cars or are you going to be doing over houses? Thankfully, a lot of my friends have done very well. Some some of those guys have gone into and time work. Some of them are very high up in the police force, which makes me of quite a lot. I was in school. I was walking through the school grounds on my own, and these two lads jumped me. I wanted to try and beat me up and do a bit bullying. And I ended up carrying them to the teacher. They literally had these two guys in a headlock, took them to the teacher, and they I went from very, very mild and scared all new and I was afraid of most things all the time. If you ever managed to get my brother on an interview, he can tell you that early teenage years I stopped, changed a lot. I went from the most mild, scared, timid kid you could possibly meet to. Actually, I’ve got quite a lot of power within me. And I started using.
Keith: [00:11:35] Interesting. Interesting.
Paul: [00:11:37] Now a couple of big events that changed the course of Paul Newton’s direction.
Keith: [00:11:45] I just wanna go back to that first one where you said it was kind of so you had a little bit of alcohol, which was enough to take the edge off the nerves.
Keith: [00:11:54] Yeah, I’m assuming that’s not something you advocate for overcoming all sorts of things?.
Paul: [00:12:01] No can imagine. I’ve got a fear of driving. Let’s neck a bottle of vodka. No, no. It’s in the the stage thing. And you know, I’ve talked about this a little bit before, the fear of being on stage. To me now seems ridiculous. I mean, I just don’t get it anymore. I don’t understand why that would be a fear in the first place. But then I see reports about normal people.
Paul: [00:12:33] Think that being on stage in front of an audience is scarier than dying. And what really? I mean, come on, I I quite like life. I guess. Fear of dying is magic. See? Yeah. I. I look at that. I don’t need any alcohol when I go onstage. I don’t think anyone needs that. What you do need to do. Is take away your perception of what’s going to happen. Take away the lies that your run brain is going to say to you. And think about it rationally gay and I know I’ve changed, helped change people in a room when they’ve said I cannot stand up. I cannot speak in front of me. OK. There’s two lies there. Okay. If you’re of the abled person, you can stand up. Getting that that low, number one, so you can stand up, if you can converse with your friends, then you can talk. That means you have the two skills to do this. I’ve got buddies who are wheelchair bound and they’re the best people I’ve seen on stage. So you know what? One of the biggest fears of it. That’s also a lie. You don’t even need to stand half the time. See, I look at it rationally. It’s not a fear of being on stage. What it normally is, is a fear of something going wrong and people then humiliating you because of that.
Paul: [00:14:23] Now that everyone knows that the whole fear is false evidence appearing real. You know what? That’s exactly what people do. That’s exactly what I used to do. I used to sit there and think, well, if I walk out on stage on my trip over. I might do this in my trousers, my fall off. I might get my words, I might mess up the song. I might you make all of these excuses and reasons that you want to believe could happen.
Paul: [00:14:54] Here’s another scary one for you. It might go really well. The best thing you ever do. It might get you exactly the results you want. You know, you’re right.
Keith: [00:15:08] For many people, that can be a really, really scary things. Oh, my goodness. I got it. Now what do I do?
Paul: [00:15:16] There is unknown. What do we do now? Exactly. It’s such. And I saw I saw a guy called Ian Dickson speak years ago and I’d already been doing stage shows and I’ve already been doing close up. I’ve already helped at that point. I think it was one TV show I’d helped at that point and Ian Dickson said something that just smacked me in the face. He said, if you want to be the expert, go onstage to be the expert. Just get on stage because so many people will sit at the back and be quiet and won’t go up. If you start getting on stage and saying the things that you know to be true, people will start taking you as the expert.
Paul: [00:16:07] And it’s so true, so true. If you haven’t seen Ian’s stuff, go Google search, it’s worth it.
Paul: [00:16:15] Oh, for sure. These days, he’s definitely worth checking out. Yeah, a scary good isn’t he?.
[00:16:22] One of these days we’ll get him on an episode of this one day.
Paul: [00:16:28] If you want, I must go hypnotize him. We’ll get on it tomorrow so that we could double team. Yes. My bad gags. We could do that. It’s true. True.
Keith: [00:16:43] So, yes. So there’s some interesting things, interesting insights you had there into stage fright and why it’s nonsense and so on. So you’ve gone from being terrified of being on stage to absolutely loving it. Yeah, you’re one of the one of the three are always came from one. One of the fears you mentioned was the fear of what if it all goes wrong and they all laugh at me, you’re back.
Keith: [00:17:10] You must have had times where it’s all gone seemingly impulsively wrong and memorable moments. And how how do you how do you cope with that to cope?
Paul: [00:17:25] And you know what? Cope with that from magician is a great one because a lot of magicians are actually weirdly shy creatures. If you think about what magic actually. Performing magic itself. It’s not about me. It’s about the trick. So if I do a card trick for you, I get you to concentrate not on me. I get to concentrate on my hands doing this card trick and I’m so injured. So this is gonna be rubbish for anyone listening to audio. But I do that. I literally want you to concentrate on cards, not on me. Okay. Now add to that that most magicians, when they start out, will sit in their bedrooms on their own, practicing with a deck of cards or with a dice or with a Rubik’s Cube. They will practice with props for hours and hours on end. Yeah, okay. The weird thing is the confidence booster is that when you start getting out there and performing those tricks after a little while you start putting your own spin on the story. You start making it more yours. You start becoming more elaborate. You stop making bigger moves, making it more entertaining, not just about the cards. So weirdly, it can help turn very shy people into massive entertainers and very valuable entertainers. Yeah. You think about it. Magicians are a very strange bunch. We really are magicians I get on with. We’ll tell you exactly the time. Some of our very arrogant and think they’re amazing all the time. But we had lunch. We’ve come from hiding their bedrooms, too. Now, I’m gonna entertain all of you here.
[00:19:18] Just. Yeah, I think most magicians have a massive issue with stage fright. And they kind of deflect it. I. You’re not looking at me. You’re looking at the trick.
Keith: [00:19:34] Interesting. Anyone can use that. Wow.
Keith: [00:19:39] Interesting. Interesting. So. So that they’re almost. I guess for some musicians who still have stage fright or have nerves or a shy. Yeah, basically the magic is magic almost becomes the thing behind which they’re hiding.
Paul: [00:19:56] Yep, and they like a massive shield. Yeah, like that and I’m just here. If you watch this, you can’t really see me. I’m going to hide behind my shield of magic. And if you like that, at the end of it, I’ll say thank you very much. I’m Bill.
Keith: [00:20:13] Yeah. Yeah. Wow.
Paul: [00:20:17] And again, sorry about the shield analogy there. That’s going to be rubbish. Just for the podcast. Anyone that’s listening to the podcast, go find the video.
Paul: [00:20:26] Okay. Indeed. Then see me hiding behind my hands. It’s great moment of TV.
Keith: [00:20:34] Exactly. Exactly. Yes. I’m you of hiding and deflecting. I notice that you didn’t answer the question.
Paul: [00:20:44] Huh? Funny that, huh?
Paul: [00:20:48] Yeah, I did. It went wrong and how you overcame go into politics. Yeah. Yeah. I.
Paul: [00:20:54] Or a recent gig. I won’t say where because none of them noticed a recent gig I was doing. Had about 300 people in the audience. Set up a trick in which involves two people and you gonna make them read each other’s minds and the bits of shit that I use. While I was setting up broke while I was onstage. Oh yeah. Nice though. My poor little brain just went, whew. What do we do? What do I do? So I decided that I would blatantly in front of the whole audience. Yeah, a new bit of kit out of my case and reset the whole thing in front of everyone. But then I had to make up about a minute’s worth of waffle.
Paul: [00:21:53] And the fact that I can now just talk for Britain saved me. I managed to set up what is a hidden piece of kit in under one minute while chatting to the audience about psychology and how body language can help you.
Paul: [00:22:12] And even though both volunteers were stood on riveted to what I’m saying, even they didn’t notice me resetting the whole thing.
Keith: [00:22:23] Now, that is, that is powerful.
Paul: [00:22:26] Mate, that was one of those moments that I was actually by the seat of my. And another thing that magicians like to do. If I’m if I’m doing a trick that has a specific outcome to be the end result, there will normally be three or four hidden outcomes. So if something goes wrong, I can revert to option B and you will still think that was the intended trick. So, yeah, things can go wrong. Doesn’t happen very often, thankfully. But when it does. You’ve just got to have the nerve to go for it.
Keith: [00:23:08] Mm hmm. And I think that that second point that you mentioned, there is a really, really vital one, not just for magicians, but for anybody.
Keith: [00:23:17] Always have more than one possible outcomes. Are things going wrong? You forget your lines. You forget what you were talking about. The volunteer hasn’t done what they’re supposed to do. Your piece of cake breaks, the ice equipment, whatever. You have got other options that you that you can follow completely.
Paul: [00:23:38] If you have gone to a business presentation and the speaker, whilst being engaging enough, the speaker puts up a big presentation or an it it says every word that they’re saying, gosh, yes. That’s literally what’s in my head. So there would be every single word I’m saying. Running along here. Now, here’s what happens in that situation. The audience members start reading the words, you’re gay. So they’re now reading those words and they’re hearing those words in their own head, in their own voice. I now have the speaker who’s also saying those words in a different point. So I’m actually getting two audio commentaries, a different timings, reading words, which confuses the whole message. Absolutely. So if you’ve got somebody watching this, who knows? They’ve got to do a presentation. Did try this, prep a picture and maybe two or three things that nudge you towards your next subject game. You already know your subject. You wouldn’t be in that position if you didn’t know your subject. Now, if I didn’t have a picture just here over my head and the first bit says card tricks, I can now talk for a couple of minutes about card tricks. Nice and easy. Man on says mind reading. I can talk for a couple of minutes about mind reading and nobody is reading all of this. But that’s a nice, informative, graphic stuff.
Keith: [00:25:16] Exactly. It’s a beautiful approach. Death by PowerPoint is a whole are presentations. The approach you manage that it’s beautiful because it gives you your your reminded. Oh yeah. I’m talking about contract, not God. Yes. Oh yes I’m talking about. Plus it also gives a great visual reminder for people in the audience because even the best speaks in the world. There will be some people who from time to time will zone out, whether it’s because they’ve got stuff going on or you have said something that set them off on another train of thought and then they come back. Whether how? Oh, Caltex. Right. OK. Because you’ve got guys. But the thing up on the screen to remind. Remind.
Paul: [00:25:58] And if you’re if you’re any good with PowerPoint and stuff, you can make that one appear first. Yeah. When you get to the point of I’m starting to run out of steam, you press the little button that makes mentalism. Here go. That’s where I was going. Awesome. Yeah. Something you just said there, huh? Even some of the best speaker and world people can zone out. A trick I learned years ago is the six to seven minute trick. I literally mean six times seven minute trick. As a magician, I tried to make sure that each of my tricks stay to about seven minutes. Interesting. Most humans, their concentration span is seven minutes long. Do a trick, then back off. Change it completely and do something new. It reinvigorates their concentration and kind of resets that timer. Yeah. So it’s going up to do speaking or a presentation. Try and keep each bullet point to information that’s under six or seven minutes. Nice. And if you need a break in between them, be as blatant as this heavy glass of water over on the side of the stage. And when you finish that first one, even when this one pings out, go. You know what? I just need to grab a glass of water. Hold on one second. Just have a drink. Yeah. Break. Break. State ratings, they had to break this tape, move across the stage. Changed the thought pattern of the people in New Orleans. And they’ll stay with you.
Keith: [00:27:41] Talking of time… Unfortunately, time has run away with us, we’ve kind of pretty much run out of time on this. Which is which is some story. Don’t worry.
Paul: [00:27:51] There’s been a lot of very interesting and very useful stuff in there. I know a lot of people are going to want to find out more about about Paul, who you are, what you do. So if someone wants to somebody wants to find out more about Paul, who is what he does, how to get in touch. What’s the best way to find out more about you?
Paul: [00:28:08] The best and the most informative way. Go on to Facebook and just typing in Paul Newton Magic. It’s all one word. Paul Newton Magic. You’ll find my magician page and updates of what I’m doing, where I am. And you can contact me directly if I’m ever out doing stuff. It might be one of my team that responds to you. And when I say team, it might be my wife. It might be to my dog. It might be my mate Dee. Who after my messages. But one of us will get back to you. Normally me.
Keith: [00:28:39] So that’s go to Facebook and look. Got Paul Newton Magic all 1. Perfect. Perfect. And Paul. You can’t get away from his he’s everywhere on social media, always under Paul Newman Magic. As always, the app they page for this episode will have all of Paul’s contact details or all of his things to all of his social media.
Keith: [00:29:01] If you wanna find out more or remember Keith Blakemore Noble dot com slash show and look for the one with Paul. You’ll find all the information that will go to Facebook home and Paul Newton Magic.
Keith: [00:29:14] You’ll find Paul that Paul also an absolute pleasure, as always. Thank you so much for taking some time out for this.
Paul: [00:29:22] I got this kind of gig for me is great. I’m currently selling my comfy sofa. I’ve got my dog cuddling me on my lap. I get I’m wearing a comfy shirt rather than one of the work ones. My, I love this. Thank you very much.
Keith: [00:29:36] My absolute pleasure. I know we’ll have you back in the future for some more stuff as well.
Paul: [00:29:41] Well, just to finish talking about stage fright.
Keith: [00:29:47] Until I. Fine, thank you. Thank you, Paul. And thank you, viewers and listeners for joining me.
Keith: [00:29:53] We’ll have another episode again next next week, if you like this please remember to comment, Like, and subscribe.
You’ve been listening to the Keith Blakemore Noble radio show Helping you transform your deepest fears into your greatest strengths. To find out more, please visit KeithBakemoreNoble.com
Paul Newton is one of an amazing new breed of professional magicians, fusing groundbreaking contemporary magic with traditional conjuring. With a long history of providing business insights utilising psychometrics, his skills in business are beyond that of purely an entertainer.
He is a family man and a people person. He absolutely loves what he does, which is all centered around his need to make people happy and to get them to get along!
Fear Strategist, coach, international speaker, multi-time best-selling author, hypnotist, occasional magician, and presenter of this show.
And someone who, for far too many years, was massively held back by a very strong social phobia – speaking with strangers, or even meeting strangers, was at best deeply uncomfortable, and at worst utterly terrifying for him. For far too many years.
So he did the logical thing – he pursued a 20 year career in IT with some success (becoming a Fellow of the BCS in the process).
Until one panic attack too many, which forced him to reconsider his life.
So he studied NLP and hypnosis, used those tools to conquer his own fears and phobias, and since 2010 he has helped others around the world to transform their deepest fears into their greatest strengths through his coaching, speaking, books, and trainings. Indeed, since 2010 he has helped over 5,000 people to transform their lives.
Having travelled the world for a while doing this, he has settled back in his native Scotland, where he is focusing on the next step in his journey of helping as many people as he can to conquer their fears. Which includes the launch of this Show!
Since 2010 Keith has helped over 5,000 people to transform their lives.
Now he brings the distillation of his experience into a weekly show designed to help you to transform your deepest fears into your greatest strengths.
Some episodes feature Keith running solo, discussing topics related to fear, phobia, mindset, and taking an interesting look into where it all comes from and what we can do about it.
In other episodes, Keith invites a special guest to join him and to discuss their experiences in overcoming their own fears, so that we can gain some insight into how we might do the same, or even to explore the more esoteric areas around fear – sometimes in some unexpected yet very interesting ways!
Presented in both audio and in video, across multiple platforms, so that the show can meet those who need it where they are.
Award-winning coach, international speaker, multi-time best-selling author, hypnotist, occasional magician, and writer of this post, Keith spent his first 40 years suffering from several phobias including being terrified of speaking with strangers. After one incident too many, he started studying and training in NLP & hypnosis to conquer his own issues, found he was rather good at it, and changed careers (aided by redundancy at just the right moment after 20 years in IT). He helps people transform their deepest fears into their greatest strengths, and having helped over 5,000 people across 5 continents, he is the UK’s #1 Fear Strategist.