Picturing the whole room naked could only make it worse…don’t do it.
By Hellen Nanzia
Stage fright can simply be defined as feeling nervous before you need to do something in front of other people. It might even occur while you are doing it and questions begin swarming in your head. “Am I going to do it right?”
“Will I remember everything?”
“Am I wearing the right clothes?”
“Will they understand me?”
Mastering the art of public speaking, or performance is not an easy task; even the most seasoned performers and orators have admitted to getting nervous when they have to speak in front of people. It’s even worse when it’s something new to the person or if they do not interact with public speaking on a day-to-day basis. Learning how to manage stage fright can help build your credibility when pitching an idea or simply putting your thoughts across. The more confident you look the more credible you seem.
Everyone deals with stage fright differently, but here are a few pointers that prove helpful.
Admit you have the fear
The number one rule to solving any problem is acknowledging that there is a problem. The key here is to admit openly that you have stage fright. Once you admit it (especially to someone else) you can begin to work through it, perhaps even talk and laugh about it.
Remember, somethings are better let out than kept in.
Practice your material
Know your material backwards and forward; it will help your confidence. Be clear on the information you want to get across, your key points and messages. People who look calm and relaxed on stage are confident because they are prepared. If you know your material you can’t forget, if you practiced you most likely won’t get confused.
But beware, cramming is not practice. Do it the right way and the universe will reward you.
Shift attention from yourself
Many people get nervous because they are constantly thinking, “okay I am the center of attention? How will the people see me? Have I prepared enough? What if I forget everything?”
Unless someone throws a shoe at you (and it wasn’t part of the plan), you’ll be fine. Take a deep breath and focus on why you are standing in front of your audience. You need to contribute something of value to them so go ahead and do it. If someone does throw a shoe at you…duck.
Stop scaring yourself with thoughts about what might go wrong. Instead, focus your attention on your strong areas. You could be funny, (some people are just naturally awkward in a funny way) so embrace that and learn to use it to your advantage. Look forward to a successful presentation even when everything seems to be going wrong. Most of the times you are the only person seeing the things that are going wrong.
What is the worst that could happen?
Sometimes you just have to stop and ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
Most of the fear is all in your head. When adrenaline kicks in and your heart is pumping like crazy, no one really notices but you. The world is not going to end because your hand was shaking so much, you dropped the microphone or you tripped and fell as you were walking to the stage. You will pick yourself up, dust yourself off and walk even taller!
Besides, how do you know the audience isn’t a little nervous as well?