Being on stage is like stepping into a highly vulnerable box. It isolates you in a viewing tank. Your walk to the microphone seems restricted as if your shoes are made of concrete. One glance over the audience and stage lights burn your retinas. With a slight pause before you speak, you can feel your breath bounce off the microphone and echo off empty walls.
This scene is familiar to many, welcomed by some, and feared by most.
If public speaking is a breeze to you – congratulations. Find your lights and speak your truth. For the rest of us glossopobics (fear of public speaking) and lost souls of confidence, here are 5 steps to overcome stage fright.
SOUND CHECK… One, Two – One, Two.
Number 1: Stay Grounded
“It’s okay to have butterflies as long as you can teach them to fly in formation. – Unknown
Let’s reframe anxiety as a good thing. The role of anxiety is to act as a manager for your fear center and to keep an eye out for any variable that may interfere with your success. Anxiety is a shield and a guardian. If you are not nervous before a presentation something may be wrong. The goal is not to disregard anxiety and invite only confidence – it is about the balance of the two.
An over-confident speaker may not be any better than an over-anxious one. To stay grounded means to find peace in your breath and practice in self-care.
Number 2: Peace in Preparation
“90% of how well the talk will go is determined before the speaker steps on the platform.” – Somers White
Take advantage of your comfort zone. A well-prepared presentation is a successful one. You are the expert. You have something to give. Now go make it magical.
Number 3: Envision Success
“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” – Mark Twain
This is not your first rodeo. Recall all the past events you rocked. Your past success is your new compass. Practice positive affirmations such as “I can do this, I get better every day, I love talking about this topic, I will feel relaxed and confident.”
Imagine yourself performing with these affirmations. Envision the scene of your event as if it was the greatest success imaginable. This is what we call ‘building a future template’. The neuro-scientists’ would say, “Whatever fires – wires.” If we edit out the negative self-talk and replace it with our vision of success, it should only grow.
Number 4: Connect to Your Audience
“They’re not going to remember the words. They’ll remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Think of the most mundane presentation topics. Whether your message is about dirt or stamps, if someone came to listen to you talk about it, they really care. Find your meaning in the message and communicate that emotion to your audience. Don’t rely on what you have to say, focus on how you deliver it. Talk about that time you found your grandfather’s stamp collection as a child and what that interaction meant to you. That will get them.
Number 5: Find a Therapist
“There are always three speeches – The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” – Dale Carnegie
Therapists can be a helpful resource to support your journey towards success. They can help you identify the root fears that may hold you back, while gaining insights and awareness around common triggers that negatively impact your performance.
They will address your strengths, drive focus, build confidence, and assist you in rehearsing your past success and future desired performance outcomes.
If you just gulped down your disbelief and can feel it weighing down your gut, let’s get started here, at Braham Counseling, where dreams are actualized.