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Four Ways How to Overcome Stage Fright
Strategies to help you go on stage in stride
We often hear the phrase “conquer stage fright” as if it were an enemy that needs to be battled and vanquished. In reality, it’s actually a beast that needs to be soothed and channeled. Stage fright, or performance phobia, is the anxiety one feels when asked to perform in front of an audience. Here are four strategies or ways how to overcome stage fright and use it to boost your energy, sharpen your reflexes and make you look better onstage.
What happens when you have stage fright?
Stage fright may happen long before you even get near a stage. The mere thought of standing in front of an audience can make your heart flutter or pound, the palms of your hand get cold and sweaty, your knees start to shake, your mouth go dry and your throat tighten. Your stomach may get upset or you may develop facial tics. It happens to even the most experienced performers or to ordinary people going for a job interview.
Strategy No. 1 – Think about it.
➢ Visualize yourself on the stage, standing in front of an audience that’s listening, smiling and applauding you.
➢ Think about how talented you are, and imagine yourself in past performances where you impressed your audience.
➢ Change your point of view and think about how badly the audience needs the information you want to give them.
Strategy No. 2 – Prepare for it.
Of the four ways to overcome stage fright, this is the most helpful. Nothing works more effectively in overcoming stage fright than to know that you’re well-prepared.
➢ If you’re reading from a written speech, go over it several times … out loud.
➢ Memorize your opening statement until you can recite it in your sleep.
➢ Practice, practice, practice then practice some more.
➢ Try it out in front of a friend, family member or colleague. Be open to their suggestions.
➢ If you’re speaking extemporaneously, go over your outline and prompts.
➢ Be in good physical shape for the event.
Strategy No. 3 – Get off to a good start
Stage fright usually happens just before you get on stage. This is the time to get yourself in the right frame of mind. A good technique is to spend some time in meditation before the start of the program. Find a quiet place where you can sit down, close your eyes and let your mind relax. Breathe deeply and feel your body become comfortable. This will help your feelings of anxiety slip away. Here are some other things you can do to start off on the right foot.
➢ Arrive early so you’re not rushed. Check the stage and the sound system.
➢ Be alert and aware of what’s happening at the event. Pick up some information that you might work into your speech.
➢ Unwind by chatting with the other speakers or guests at the event.
➢ Review your notes and look over your audience. If you see some people you know, show them you’ve noticed their presence.
➢ If there’s time and you feel like it, take a short walk.
Strategy No. 4 – Let the audience help you
Once you’re on, how to overcome stage fright is a matter of establishing rapport with your audience.
➢ Look for people in the audience whom you know and imagine yourself chatting with them. Or, focus on the friendliest faces in the audience.
➢ Establish eye contact with the persons in the audience. Smile at them when it’s appropriate.
➢ If your legs start to shake, lean on the podium or table.
➢ Loosen up and use gestures so you keep your circulation going.
➢ Take a sip of water every once in a while if your mouth feels dry.
Explore these four ways how to overcome stage fright and pick out the ones that work best for you.