Public speaking is one of the biggest fears reported by adults. It usually tops fears of flying, sickness, financial ruin, and even death! A lot of people can feel very nervous when they get up in front of a crowd. If you are filled with a feeling of dread in a situation like this, you might very well have some form of social anxiety disorder.
But you shouldn’t panic! Never do that. A lot of people experience this problem, but you can definitely follow a lot of steps to get rid of stage fright. It will take some work, but you can do it if you commit to your cause. Don’t let stage fright lower your self-esteem or your self-confidence. Many others have gotten over this fear in the past, and you can too!
1. Understand the symptoms
There are several symptoms of stage fright. Common signs include a rapid or irregular heart beat, tics and jerky movement, and trembling hands or feet. It might also case a dry mouth, diarrhea, and incontinence.
You might experience these symptoms in stage or musical performances. Rehearsals went fantastic, but when it comes for the main show, you just can’t seem to remember your lines or play your musical part properly.
The same thing happens all the time in athletics and in business as well. Maybe you are in charge of a product and are pitching it to the company. But as soon as you enter the conference room, you lose your confidence and can’t remember the important selling features. Athletics work around this exact same idea. You have practiced for months but on the day of the big game, you just don’t seem to have the same confidence in the heat of the game.
Even regular activities can seem daunting! Maybe you are out at a party and your friends want to play charades, but you realize that even this innocent game would be too stressful for you. Everyone has been there before!
2. Preparation is key
If anything mentioned about sounds like what you are currently going through, it is likely that you indeed experience stage fright. Fortunately for you, now you know. And knowing is half the battle to figuring out how you can get over your fear!
If you feel like you aren’t ready to do whatever it is that gives you stage fright, then you might actually have more work to do. Take some extra time to memorize your duties. This can help you stay calm when your time to shine arrives.
Be disciplined and dedicated to your performance, and it is likely that you will do an amazing job! Try visualizing yourself having success. Focus on what you are strongest at, and think about the best ways that you can handle a challenging situation.
3. Use a mirror
Part of the preparation stage should always involve a mirror. Lots of professional performers use hand-held to practice and steady their nerves. Using a mirror can help you control that way you deliver your lines and what you are doing with your gestures, for instance. But, more importantly, you can use this to measure how confident you are.
After you convince yourself of your performance, you will likely find that you can convince your audience as well!
4. Take deep breaths
Breathing exercises are a great way to help calm yourself down. They don’t call it meditation for no reason: breathing deeply and evenly can work wonders for your confidence.
If you are performing in a play, for instance, begin your breathing exercise before you get your cue. Take long, deep breaths before you are supposed to start giving your lines. Doing so helps take the focus away from the audience and puts it on your part instead. Quickly inhale your breath as deeply as possible, and then slowly let the air out of your lungs. You will likely see a highly positive result!
5. Avoid stimulants
You should do whatever you can to control anything that might make you feel more nervous. Some food and drink can make your stage fright symptoms even worse!
Try and avoid candies, coffee, carbonated drinks, onions, tomatoes, or other acidic items, and salty foods or fast foods.
Some professionals will tell you that a nip of whiskey or a glass of wine helps settle their nerves before they perform, but it’s always better to play it safe. You don’t need a stimulant to get you through a performance! You have what it takes; all you need to do is find it.
6. Have fun on stage
This can be very difficult to do, but try and avoid thinking what the crowd or audience might feel about how you are performing.
Make your performance about you, or about you and your team. Doing so will help you get rid of your stage fright because you are actually enjoying what is happening rather than focusing on what could go wrong.
The world isn’t going to end if you miss a line, if your voice cracks, or if you don’t give as confident of a delivery as you had hoped. The earth will keep on spinning, and you will too! Don’t dwell on what might go wrong, as this is not going to help you at all.
Your audience is human as well, and they know this as well as you should. Try connecting with them throughout your performance. Pick a few friendly looking people, and make them just that: your friends at your performance, not your enemies.
Try your best and put forward a strong effort. It shows when you are having fun on any type of stage. Leave your worries and anxieties in the dust, and you might just find that you will have no worries after all!
Don’t let your fears crush your dreams or stop you from having a great time. Who has time for that! Now that you know some of the best ways to get rid of stage fright you are well on your way to controlling the stage you are on so that you can not only have fun but also give an award-winning performance.