Managing Stage Fright – 3 Tips to Conquer Your Public Speaking Fears on Stage
As we enter 2021, some of you may have included public speaking confidence as a new year goal or resolution. We know that developing stage confidence may not always be a smooth-sailing experience. Whether you are a seasoned speaker or a new kid on the block, you are likely to face the fluttering butterflies in your stomach. The fear may impede your performance on the big stage; worse still, they may prevent you from presenting altogether.
Stage fright or fear may come in various forms, and it is important to identify your unique stage fright indicators. Think of it as an alarm bell or indicator informing you that something is not going smoothly and alerting you to the need to act. Some of us may feel the fear in the pits of our stomach – boiling over uncomfortably. Others may feel the fear in their sweaty palms or lightning-speed speaking pace. Once you learn how to identify these indicators, you can react immediately before the fear paralyses you on the speaking stage.
Today, let us share three quick tips on how you can conquer that stage fright!
Tip #1: Know Your Fear Centre
As we had shared, the first step is to know your stage fright indicators. In short, where do you feel the fear on your body? Here is a simple 3-step blueprint for teasing your indicators out. First, use a low-stakes environment (e.g., small presentation, lower stress) to pick out where your fear tends to appear. Second, create consistency in your observations by journaling your indicators and being aware of how they tend to appear (e.g., stomach discomfort and nervous voice). Third, create immediate awareness of your fear centre, while on the speaking stage itself.
One of our Trainers, for example, shares about how his stage fright indicators featured through his speaking pace. When nervous, he would speed up extensively, affecting the audience’s ability to follow his main message. However, by creating awareness of this stage fright indicator, he was alive to the warning signs of his stage fright setting and was able to apply immediate steps to dilute the stage fright impact (e.g., taking a pause).
Tip #2: Visualise, Optimise, Maximise
One method we have shared before is the visualisation method. Once you have uncovered your stage fright indicators, the next step is to uncover your stage fright management plan. Visualisation is the act of mentally moving through your speech/presentation before you even take the stage. It is more than just wistful day-dreaming; it is an immersive exercise meant to help your body feel at ease during the actual presentation. By mentally going through the process, you avoid placing unnecessary stress on unpredictable or fluid elements (e.g., things not going according to plan).
There are three considerations to take note of when applying the visualisation method. First, remember to visualise the complete experience. Instead of just the speech, visualise the process of stepping up on stage or even waving your thanks to the appreciative, applauding audience. Second, aim to visualise positive elements. You need to assume everything works out in your speech (e.g., every delivery technique or every joke). Third, remember to use all 5 senses through the visualisation exercise. How did the audience sound like when they reacted? What does your skin feel? Engage all your senses in the visualisation exercise!
Tip #3: Power Poses & Loose Muscles
Finally, we may feel tempted to go with the fear and tense ourselves when we feel the onset of stage fright. You may have seen some speakers physically withdraw on stage as they grapple with the fear, whether it is a forgotten script or just general stage anxiety. Instead of giving in to the temptation, you can try out advanced poser poses on stage to immediately relax your muscles and reset your presentation mode.
While power poses are meant as a pre-speech ritual, you can adopt some of the expansive, open gestures during your presentation to loosen your muscles. Try using a pause with hand gestures that require consistent motion (e.g., a circular hand gesture). If possible, move around the stage as you take a purposeful pause to help settle your mind before moving to the next part of your speech.
Take That Stage by Storm!
Stage fear/anxiety can be nerve-wracking, but having that fear can sometimes help push yourself to present confidently. In contrast, if the presentation/speech is not invoking fear, you may be lulled into a sense of complacency. No matter the presentation setting, remember to challenge yourself to take control and be comfortable with your stage fright.
We look forward to your successful presentation tales!
By The Way…
If you are keen to take your public speaking skills & presentation skills (either business/corporate presentation / training for presentation to clients / kids in-class presentation) to the next level so that you may communicate and deliver speeches with greater flair and charisma, feel free to check out our public speaking course for adults and public speaking course for kids below!
For more about our (weekly group classes) Public Speaking Courses for Adults :
If you are looking for a 2-day intensive public speaking/ presentation course for adults instead (for our adult learners who can’t do weekends), learn more about our Presentation Skills Training Course here: https://www.publicspeakingacademy.com.sg/presentation-skills-training-course-by-world-champion/
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Feel free to reach out to us to curate your own public speaking corporate training programme for your team, company, or organization! Let us help you develop them into highly effective public speakers at work, empowered with effective presentation skills & storytelling skills – them giving speeches with charisma, influence and impact is something you can look forward to!
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