Thursday, 23 February 2017 12:58

Overcoming stage fright

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There are two types of people in the world: those who love speaking in public and those who are scared stiff at the thought of it. Performance anxiety and stage fright are perfectly normal phenomena that occur to many people. It is important for you to understand what stage fright is, so that you can fully overcome it.

Stage fright or performance anxiety is a persistent phobia which is aroused in an individual when required to perform in front of an audience. So how do you overcome stage fright when speaking in public?

1. Know Your Stuff

Nothing will stop stage fright in it’s gripping tracks like being prepared. Know your content, your speech and more importantly your audience. If you know what you are talking about then you have no reason to be nervous.

Understanding your topic will enable you to speak more naturally and hence more confidently. Also, should a technical hitch occur, this won’t faze you as you are already confident on the subject.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice

Knowing your stuff helps, but it doesn’t necessarily eradicate the problem. You need to practice as much as you can before the performance or public speaking d-day.

Really know your content inside out and practice (preferably in front of a live audience) as much as possible to build your confidence.

3. Talk Yourself Down

You need to realize that even though stage fright is “all in the mind,” the fear manifests itself in physical ways. The best offence is to change your negative talk. Stop worrying about, “What if I forget the content?”

Change that into positive talk like, “What if I am great at this?” It may sound simplistic or too easy, but positive affirmation will go a long way in reducing stage fright when speaking in public.

4. Visualize the Outcome

Call it what you will: reflection, visualization, meditation. Whatever you call it, just do it. Spend time visualizing yourself giving a perfect presentation and speaking in public – filled with humor, warmth, confidence and intelligence. The more you imagine being great, the more likely you will achieve it.

5. It is Not All About You

Though you might feel like everyone is out to laugh, criticize or judge you, that is not the case. Get over the feeling that the world is going to hang on your every mistake. Focus on your speech, audience and what they deserve from you. This will ease the pressure that is already accumulating.

6. When Things go Wrong

Sooner or later, something will go wrong. Your projector or microphone might stop working. If you already know your content, then chances are that this won’t faze you as much. If, for instance, your microphone stops working, don’t stress over it, carry on with a louder voice. Chances are the technical people are already stressing and working to sort the problem out, so you getting worried over the same issue won’t help.

7. Keep Calm, Don’t Rush It

Don’t rush your presentation. Start slow and allow yourself time to get into a comfortable pace. You need time to get used to the audience and the audience also needs time to get used to you.

8. Focus on Getting Through the First 5 Minutes

Imagine your entire presentation is only five minutes long. This will make it less stressful. Focus on just getting through the first five minutes and by this time you will have already calmed down and the rest is downhill.

9. Never Apologize for Being Nervous

Three quarters of the time, no one will notice you are nervous. Why tell them? You may feel yourself shaking and shivering, but your audience might not be aware of it. Don’t mention it. It will make your audience nervous too and they will be too worried about your performance to get much out of your presentation.

 

For more tips on overcoming stage fright you can read the original article on the Small Business Trends website here. Do you get stage fright when you need to do a presentation? How do you overcome stage fright? Let us know in the comments below

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Brendan Ihmig

I am a digital entrepreneur, social media professional and branding & marketing consultant

https://www.brendanihmig.com

1 comment

  • Comment Link Erica Tuesday, 28 November 2017 20:48 posted by Erica

    Excellent article! The fear for public speaking is called glossophobia - PSAN is a great platform to grow and overcome anxiety to speak in public, because the members celebrate each other's successes. I am grateful for this opportunity to be amongst professionals who treat me like family.

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