Sweaty palms, lack of breath, images of death – have you experienced these before? And no, I’m not referring to a dentist’s appointment. Everyone has experienced stage fright at some point in their life, even the world’s best performers. Be it your second grade recitation competition, a class presentation during your MBA programme, or a PowerPoint presentation in front of your investors, a public performance is literally inevitable. That doesn’t mean you need to overthink and unnecessarily mess it up.
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When you experience stage fright you may be under the impression that you are under threat in some way. So what you need to do is to remove that thought from your head. Once you get this into your mind it will be easy to calm down. Here are a few easy tips to help you conquer stage fright:
Talk your way through it
Don’t pressurise yourself too much. Tell yourself “What’s the worst that can possibly happen?” It’s actually all in your head. Your actual fear is related to getting approval from those around you. But honestly speaking, they don’t care either. If anything, people want you to do well. No one comes to watch a speaker underperform and make a big deal out of it later.
Ask yourself what exactly is bothering you
We actually do not know why or what we are afraid of. And that’s because there is actually nothing specific to be afraid of! Our fears are just self-made and grown in our heads. It might be some unnecessary thought about your reputation or remembering sub topics. If you think about it, all these aren’t going to affect you and your audience aren’t going to even think about it. So ask yourself what’s bothering you and you will be surprised to see that your fears are baseless.
Recall the happy and pleasant moments in your life. This will calm you down and convince you that all is going to be fine. Listen to some soothing music or go for a quite walk outside. Or even talk to a friend who can always cheer you up.
Focus on what you are presenting
Often, before a speech you tend to think about a string of negative things. One image leads to another and you begin to believe that a person who looks away or answers a call during your speech is plain bored. This might not be true at all. Instead, keep your focus on what you have to deliver. Your content is what people have come for, so deliver it in the best way possible.
Connect with your audience
Arrive early and get acquainted with your audience. During your speech, smile and maintain eye contact. You will notice that a pleasant and positive attitude will be reciprocated, making you comfortable and confident. After all, who doesn’t like a happy individual?
This too will pass
Before a presentation it’s natural to feel like you’re on an endless journey. Nothing is constant, so make yourself enjoy every moment of it. Be excited about educating, entertaining, and engaging with people. They have come to watch and learn from you. You should be honoured about it. How many people get the opportunity to make a whole room of people listen to them with rapt attention?
Stage fright is just a state of mind! Get rid of it today.