What is Stage Fright?
Do you stutter a lot when speaking in public? Does your hands get sweaty? Did you nod while reading these assessments? If you did, then you definitely are anxious in speaking/performing publicly. This is known as stage fright.
Here are two trivias to ease your level of fright. John Lennon vomits before his performances, it may be his way of releasing the butterflies in his stomach. Steve Jobs, on the other hand, was known to practice his presentation hundred times, weeks before the big day, this makes him feel more confident and in control.
This dilemma is common to the majority; from musicians, broadway actors to professional presenters. If these prominent people still get shaky and on pins and needles when on stage, how much more would ordinary people/aspiring speakers be.
Whether you have a mild or strong degree of such stress anxiety, there are ways to overcome it and/or adapt to it. You should just know what works for you.
Check out these stage performance tips and methods on how to overcome stage fright and get back to them whenever you have a big stage performance/presentation coming:
When presenting, prepare your materials (e.g. slide presentation, clicker, cue cards and other presentation materials) so you wouldn’t waste your time looking for something when you’re already on stage. You’ll feel more pressured and on edge. Just in case you forget something, prepare your cue cards. Just bring them out if you need them.
The key component in conquering this is to practice. A lot but not too much. Not only will this decrease your level of anxiety but also makes you more confident. Try reciting your lines/script in front of a mirror, record it and see how you’ve done. Watch how it looked and sounded. Did your hands look awkward? Did you seem boring? Did you forget anything? Note your mistakes and parts where you should improve on.
If anything goes wrong (e.g. technical difficulties, forgetting lines, etc.), learn to maximize the time. Even if you practice a lot, not everything goes according to plan. If it’s already a disaster, don’t just stand still and plan on running back stage, do something! Turn your luck around by keeping the audience engaged and interested. Remember: the flow of your presentation is in the palm of your hands, your audience have no idea what’s in your presentation/script.
4. A pinch of humor:
You don’t want to bore your audience, do you? Break the ice. Include something humorous, trivial or anything that can keep them listening and interested. Reach out to them in any form you can possibly think. This will not only catch your audience’s attention but also calm your self. This is also a way of leaving a mark your audience won’t forget.
5. Be natural:
Don’t pretend to be someone else. You are your own self. Don’t talk like a programmed machine, you’re not Siri! Do not speak too fast or too slow. It would reflect on the level of your nervousness and we don’t want that to show.
6. Let go:
Your stage anxiety cannot be conquered instantaneously, not in just one presentation. Hence, you can just let go off yourself. Do not overthink things. It won’t help you in any way. If you mess up today, it’s okay. You’ll learn from it and you’ll nail your next performance the next time.
Tips for Overcoming Anxiety:
The following mentioned are few performance anxiety tips on overcoming performance anxiety or getting over performance anxiety.
1. Stand straight:
Your stance illustrates your level of confidence. If you’re slouching, people will assume that you’re unprepared and not entirely excited about the presentation. If you’re not confident, still stand straight and at least pretend to be. It won’t hurt you.
Before stepping onto the stage, stretch, extend and shake you body; leave all the jitters behind and don’t bring it with you. This will help you keep your composure.
3. Move around:
Especially when you’re already on stage. Don’t look stiff and sturdy, move around while presenting to make the stage seem like your own space, like you have stepped out there numerous times. As you move around, the butterflies in your stomach should fly away and it’ll make you feel less anxious.
Perform your breathing exercise before you start. Inhale, hold your breath then slowly exhale. It is preferable to do belly breathing rather from your chest because when done incorrectly, it usually causes chest pain or heaviness.
5. Clear your mind:
Stop thinking of how you will look and how people would think once you begin. No, you don’t look stupid. It’s mind over matter. The more you trigger your nervousness and think of how much you’ll mess up, the more likely it is to happen, so stop analyzing or predicting every detail.
Don’t stress yourself with the size of your audience. No matter how big or small, people will be staring and judging. So bring your best self out there. Don’t forget to make eye contact and connect with your audience.
7. Don’t tell people you’re nervous:
Or don’t even try to joke about it otherwise they will analyze each and every move you make; every word you speak out, your communication gestures and everything in between. They will judge the whole existence of your presentation anxiety by determining how nervous you are, even if in reality you’re not (okay maybe a little bit).
If you’re still nervous or can’t really fight it, adapt to it. Embrace it (in a positive manner) by trying harder to focus and enjoy the rest of the ride. There will be ups and downs and bumps and slides but causing mistakes are okay (just not too much). You’re just human, it’s in our nature to be nervous and commit mistakes. Try to use that dilemma as your advantage to push yourself to perform better and be
How Overcoming Speech Anxiety can help your life:
By conquering speech/performance anxiety, you are able to improve not just your professional life but your personal life as well. It wouldn’t be too hard now to engage with your colleagues or brainstorm with them — sharing and suggesting ideas wouldn’t be too hard now. You are no longer afraid to state your own opinions and approach a stranger. Or, it’s no longer heart-pounding to give advice to your peers and/or family.
Author Bio: Chie Suarez is a resident writer for The Fordham Company, one of Australia’s top celebrity management companies and a major celebrity speakers bureau. Chie Suarez provides tips and hacks in personal and career development for those who are afraid to step out of their safe zones.