Stage fright isn't something I have to fight with very often, though I have problems with it during non-music related situations. For some reason, speaking to large groups of people intimidates me. Here's how I deal with it.
Guideline #1: DON'T MESS UP
1) Staying Hydrated
Having a bottle of water on hand is a good plan, but the problem with that is your voice doesn't just immediately get lubed up from taking a sip before you go on stage. According to people on the internet, it takes about 45 minutes for your body to process fluids and get hydrated. Another good rule of thumb is if your pee is clear, you're hydrated, if it's super yellow, you need to get some water in you. If you know you HAVE to get hydrated RIGHT NOW, don't drink anything with dairy, alcohol, or caffeine in it, as those things dry you out, or in dairy's case, cause you to produce more phlegm which isn't that fun to sing through either.
This one time during American Idol I had to bite my tongue till I oversalivated to get my throat to not feel like sandpaper right before I was supposed to sing because there was no water around for reasons.
So I guess there's always that option.
Takeaway: DRINK THAT SH*T
2) Faking it Till You're Making It
True Facts from Naomi: 90% of the crowd had no idea you messed up before you pulled that face, or said "oh f*ck" over the microphone, or started floundering because you lost your train of thought. Learning to overcome the kneejerk reaction of beating yourself up just because you messed up one time is one of the biggest ways to get comfortable onstage.
I've trained myself to smile whenever I'm messing up (my voice cracked on a note, my bass was out of tune, or I almost twisted my ankle in 4.5 inch heels, doesn't matter, I'm probably grinning like an idiot). If you need inspiration on how to do this, pay attention to people around you or on the radio. Be aware of how someone stumbles, and picks themselves back up again, whether it's saying a word wrong three times in a row, forgetting lyrics, or just physically tripping. Then, watch yourself in daily life in those awkward situations, and start trying to consciously process those moments with positivity.
I'm pretty sure we need to start teaching this to children.
Takeaway: PLAN TO GIGGLE AT YOURSELF
3) Practice Correctly
There are a lot of ways to get information into your brain. Repeating your performance over and over again from beginning to end might not be what you need. This is so important I'm already planning another post for it. Click here to read more.