Stage fright is a common fear that many people experience during public speaking when they have to stand up and speak in front of an audience. It can lead to physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, and a racing heart, which can make performing feel overwhelming and stressful. Here are some tips to help deal with stage fright.
Practice deep breathing, to calm your nerves before performing.
Feeling nervous or anxious before a public speaking is completely normal, and it’s something that many people experience. However, it’s important not to let these feelings take over and negatively impact your performance. One way to combat nerves is to practice deep breathing before your presentation.
Deep breathing exercises involve taking slow, deliberate breaths and can help slow your heart rate and reduce feelings of anxiety. To practice deep breathing, simply inhale slowly through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this process several times until you feel more relaxed.
Circular breathing is where you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds and do that again in a circular pattern.
Visualise yourself delivering a successful public speaking speech and focus on the positive outcomes.
Visualising yourself delivering a successful speech is a powerful technique that can help you overcome nerves and boost your confidence. By imagining yourself succeeding, you create a positive mindset and a sense of optimism that can translate into a more polished and confident performance.
As you visualise yourself performing, focus on the positive outcomes. Imagine the applause, the positive feedback, and the sense of accomplishment you will feel after delivering a successful performance. Visualise the positive impact your speech or performance will have on your audience, and the satisfaction you will feel knowing that you delivered your best.
By focusing on the positive outcomes and visualising your success, you are setting yourself up for a more positive and confident experience. You are telling your mind and body that you are capable of success and that you are ready to perform at your best. This can help to reduce nerves, improve your mindset, and set you up for success.
I always like to arrive early, before anyone else and I do my visualisation on the stage or at the front of the room, in the venue that I will be presenting in.
Rehearse your performance or speech thoroughly, until you feel confident and comfortable with the material.
Practice your material out loud. Reading your public speaking speech or presentation in your head is not enough. To truly prepare, you need to practice out loud. This will help you get a sense of your pacing, your tone, and your body language.
Time yourself: Time yourself when you practice so that you know how long your presentation will be. This will also help you to make sure that you’re not rushing or going too slowly.
Practice in front of others: Practice in front of friends or family members who can give you feedback on your delivery. This will help you get used to performing in front of an audience and give you a chance to adjust your presentation as needed.
Record yourself: Record yourself when you practice so that you can watch the video later and see how you did. This can help you identify areas where you need to improve and adjust your delivery. You can send your video to a coach or a trusted friend for feedback.
And as they say, prior preparation prevents pathetically poor public speaking.
Focus on the needs of your public speaking audience, rather than your own fears or insecurities.
Focusing on your audience and their needs is one of the key elements of delivering a successful speech. When you’re on stage, it can be easy to get caught up in your own thoughts and emotions, but by shifting your focus to your audience, you can create a more engaging and effective presentation.
Think about what your public speaking audience needs to hear: What information do they need? What do they want to know? What problems are they facing. What are their major issues and concerns and how will your message help them move forward. By focusing on your audience’s needs, you can better tailor your presentation and make sure you are meeting their expectations.
Remember that your audience wants you to succeed: It’s easy to get caught up in our own fears and insecurities, but remember that your audience wants you to succeed. They are there to learn from you, be educated by you, or be inspired by you. By keeping this in mind, you can shift your focus away from yourself and onto your audience.
Use positive self-talk and affirmations to boost your public speaking confidence and remind yourself of your strengths.
The first step in using positive self-talk is to identify negative self-talk. This might include thoughts like “I’m going to mess up” or “I’m not good enough.” Once you’re aware of these negative thoughts, you can start to challenge them with positive affirmations.
By using positive self-talk and affirmations, you can shift your mindset and build confidence when overcoming stage fright. Remember to be patient and kind with yourself, and to focus on the positive outcomes rather than the negative possibilities.
Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes and use these experiences as opportunities to learn and grow.
Making mistakes or experiencing setbacks is a natural part of the learning process, and it’s important to remember that it’s okay to have these experiences. In fact, setbacks can be valuable opportunities to learn and grow, and can ultimately help you become a better speaker or performer. Each mistake or setback is simply a lesson to be learnt and improved ready for your next presentation. And most of us have never heard a perfect presentation, so allow yourself to have a few mistakes and learn from them.
With time and practice, you can overcome stage fright and performance anxiety and deliver successful presentations and speeches. Which one of the six strategies do you think will work best for you? I personally embrace deep breathing and I always arrive early to visualise my presentation and to reduce the risk of any technical mistakes. What will you do to help reduce your stage fright.
Interested in improving your public speaking skills? Join Peter at the Winning Presentation Skills on October 23rd in Perth. Limited seats available, so register now!