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Stage Fright and 6 Ways to Overcome It

Stage Fright and 6 Ways to Overcome It

The lights go down, the audience breaks into their welcoming-applause and you walk from behind the curtains to give that most hyped-up speech. As soon as you are in the centre-stage, your legs are shaking and mouth’s getting dry. And to make things worse, you realize your inability to breathe, and end up forgetting EVERYTHING! Devasting right? 

A majority of us would’ve dreaded the time when you were forced to be the ‘limelight’ during a class presentation, or, gone pale standing on the podium: the fear of speaking before an audience plagues many of us. It not only holds us captive to striking better deals but also pessimistically lowers your self-esteem and self-confidence. Glossophobia or Performance anxiety, commonly known as stage fright is the nervousness faced by an individual, before or during an appearance in front of an audience. Being the focus of attention, with the public eye fixed on you, can be exhausting. Your body’s ‘fight – or -flight’ mechanism takes over and adrenaline kicks in, resulting in similar symptoms that prevail in times of real danger. 

Common Symptoms of Glossophobia: 

  • Increased blood pressure and rapid breathing  
  • Trembling hands, knees, lips and voice 
  • Dry mouth and tight throat 
  • Stiffening of the upper back muscles 
  • Nausea and an uneasy feeling in your stomach 
  • Sweaty and cold hands 
  • Vision changes 

Top 6 reasons that are holding you back: 

Stage fright
  1. Self-consciousness in front of large groups: Time and again, individuals have stated that talking in front of larger – the audience is the cause of anxiety, which dwindles in the vicinity of smaller groups. The larger the group, the bigger the trouble! 
  1. Fear of appearing nervous: Quite comically, many fears of looking fearful. Presenting yourself shivery, jittery and sweaty in front of an audience can be quite embarrassing. 
  1. The Judgmental Them: Presenting yourself in front of a censorious audience can be tremendously demeaning. 
  1. Past Failures: Public speaking anxiety is a learned behaviour. A past failure plants a seed of self-doubt that consumes you from within and fills you with apprehension. 
  1. Lack of preparation: One can’t expect full marks in a test, one hasn’t prepared for. Nothing undermines public speaking confidence like being unprepared  
  1. Self- comparison: Comparing yourself to other speakers can suppress your confidence and demolish your courage to face the audience. Learn how to boost your confidence in our Latest Article on 5 Ways to Boost your confidence! Elevate your stage performance with the following tips: 

1. Know The Material 

“The best way to conquer stage fright is to know what you’re talking about.” 

– Michael H. Mescon 

The best advice is to always write your own speech. One should always be aware of the motive and reason behind their presence on-stage. No matter how good an impromptu speaker you are, there’s something inordinately intimidating and foreign about public speaking. Being well- informed from the start is the key to making great presentations and leaving your audience spell-bound. It’s only when you believe in your words, the magic unleashes and the spectators cherish the speech. That’s the first step towards making an impact. Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, the best speeches can’t be made vaguely, although, the unfathomable part is presenting them. 

2. Connect with the Gathering 

“The success of your stage presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.” 

– Lilly Walters  

The first menacing consequence of walking onto the ‘centre- stage’ is catching the expectant eyes, right? 

Now, change the perspective. How about, you walk on the stage and look into the public’s eyes and subdue then! Quite triumphant…. The second step to conquering your stage fright is knowing the audience and connecting with it. Look at the audience and smile at them. That’s enough to beam-up your confidence.  

3. Practice makes a Man Perfect 

In addition to knowing the material so that it’s right on the tip of your tongue, rehearsing your delivery is paramount. Rehearsing in front of a mirror can help you monitor your facial expressions and body language, and anticipate what’s coming.   

4. Envision the Best Outcome 

“You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.” 

See Also

John Ford  

Shift the focus from yourself and your fear of the enjoyment you are providing to the spectators. Close your eyes on stage and imagine the audience laughing and cheering, and you feel good. Visual imagery can do the unimaginable. Don’t focus on what could go wrong. Instead, focus on the positive. Visualize your success. Avoid thoughts that produce self-doubt. And that’s it, you are already leaping towards that PERFECT PERFORMANCE! 

5. Breathe and Relax 

 In order to vanquish those speech stutters, practice meditation and controlled breathing. All it takes is to close your eyes and engage in a brief mindful meditation. This will relieve anxiety, tension and stress and help ready you for the next item on the agenda: your speech in front of the audience. Deep Breathing can be a great supplement to ratchet down your stress and slump the queasiness of having butterflies in your stomach. It helps you calm down your nerves during a performance. 

Voila! You’re already doing great. With a head free of all worries, you can deliver your dream performance on the stage. 


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