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Stage Fright? How to Effectively Speak in Public
The fact is, millions of people are afraid to speak in public. And while others intentionally choose a job with the least public speaking requirements, they often regret it in the long run. For some students, they even drop out of school just to avoid it. Is that the solution – an escape? Apparently not.
According to these people, they would have chosen to face their fears and live their life to the fullest. So if you are planning to take the same path, we are stopping you right now. Instead, we will give you practical tips that can help you fight off stage fright or glossophobia.
Think About Your Purpose
When you speak in front of an audience, whether big or small, it’s not about you! It’s about the content and your mission. So, for example, you need to present a business plan to the executive board. Do not think that the leaders are there to mock you. Instead, focus on what you need to deliver to them. Prepare good materials and keep them substantial.
If you stop focusing on yourself and work on your content, the feeling of anxiety or nervousness dies down. Stop obsessing if you will look or sound perfect.
Practice Your Speech Under Similar Environment
You would often read that to fight off stage fright, you need to practice. That’s true, but we recommended rehearsing while simulating similar conditions. You can either go to the venue in advance to get a feel of the place. Invite your families and friends to hear you speak as well. Practicing using a spotlight and a microphone should help as well. Wear the exact wardrobe and do your makeup days before, and see if it feels comfortable when you talk.
When we say rehearsing, this is not confined to memorizing your lines or spiels. We urge you to practice and mimic the real thing.
Learn Different Calming Methods
The right breathing techniques and meditation can help you a lot. And it’s always good to practice it as early as now. Even seasoned performers do such, proof of how effective it is.
Upon stepping on a stage or before speaking, ensure that you open your body and stand up with confidence.
Redirect Your Negative Thoughts to Something Tangible
It is normal that you still feel all jittery as you take the stage or podium. Another technique is to hold on to something small where you could mentally redirect your feelings and thoughts. It could be a pen, paperclips, or a lucky bracelet.
Find a Friendly Face in the Audience
Sometimes, we get distracted just by looking at the audience. If you see someone yawn, check their watch, or whisper to their seatmate, you feel that you are not compelling enough. And if you let that get into you, it could ruin your train of thoughts.
A smooth tactic is to find friendly faces amongst your audience. Make a connection and speak as if you are talking to a friend. By doing so, you will look more relaxed, and you will sound even better.
Don’t Stand Still
When you are about to speak in front of a vast crowd, standing still might be the last thing you want to do. Apart from looking dull, it makes you even more nervous.
If the stage is big enough, try to walk around. If possible, be more engaging and go down to your audience. In the case of smaller groups and meetings, you can make subtle hand gestures as well.
Seek Professional Help
More often than not, there is no need for medications if you experience stage fright. Likewise, there’s no specific treatment. However, certain health conditions may contribute to it. For example, those who are diagnosed with anxiety would generally have a harder time speaking in public. Therefore, there could be medications that your doctor may prescribe.
Take note though, that even if you practice the above tips, stage fright can still happen every time you go up on stage, or tasked to speak in public. No one is immune to this. But the important thing is that you are able to manage your fears and thoughts. That way, you can still deliver the best way possible and share valuable content with your audience.
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