A while ago I wrote a blog on “4 ways to improve your Communication Skills”, and many readers replied asking about how to overcome the stage fear or become a good public speaker.
So, let’s talk about it.
First of all, if you feel nervous when speaking in public, know that you’re not alone.
It’s estimated that as much as 75% of the Earth’s population struggles with a fear of public speaking. This implies that some 238 million people feel nervous about addressing others on stage.
These reports were released back in 2015. Over the past years, the number has increased with the growing population.
If you’re a part of this number, wouldn’t you appreciate learning how to love stage and spotlights instead, and nail public speaking?
I’m sure you would 😉
Learning to love addressing the audience on stage and being fond of it may seem like a distant goal. But, as they say, it all starts with a first step.
So let’s begin with that!
In this case, the first thing you must do is to remind yourself that the topic you’re passionate about is most likely also of interest to listeners. That’s why they are sitting in the audience. And they are listening to your content, not judging you or your orating skills.
Here are some “quick fixes” that you can use when stage fear comes to call.
1. Think right
Think the right thing: it isn’t about you! When we feel anxious before giving a speech what’s the first thing we really think?
“I’m awful at this”? “I can’t do it”? Or “this is not my thing, I’m not an extrovert person”?
If your answer was any of the above, it’s time to change that!
I know speech anxiety is pretty unpleasant and makes you focus on how awful you’re feeling, instead of what really matters: the response of your audience.
Put yourself in their shoes and think about what they’re hoping to get out of this presentation. What is more important to them? How good or fluent you speak, or what the content that you’re sharing?
It will always be the latter.
So relax, and focus on the knowledge you’re sharing.
2. Greet and smile at your audience
Do you get the same fear when you talk with your parents, siblings friends or someone you are familiar with? Not really, right?
This is because you share a bond with them, and so you have to do the same with the audience.
You have to make them believe that you’re here to connect with them and make a difference or impact their lives.
One of the most effective ways to feel like you have a relationship with your listeners (and therefore feel less anxious) is to take a moment to allow that to happen. You do that in your moment of greeting.
Charge yourself at this moment, letting listeners know that you really enjoy being there. Again, you too will feel it!
3. Let’s light the audience to enlighten them
Standing in a spotlight while addressing feels like standing alone in a harsh glare of light, where everyone notices your move.
But in reality, you’re not alone. All of those people who came to listen to you are not there to judge, but to learn. And they also might have a lot to contribute!
So why not give them the mic sometimes? Let the spotlight shine on them, for a change, and interact with your audience.
This will make you feel less alone, more connected and hence more comfortable 🙂
4. Don’t present the subject, talk about it
Put yourself in the shoes of the audience again and think about the speeches you loved.
Is it the 1-hour speech where the speaker presented without even interacting, or is the 2-minute speech with conversations with the speaker?
Speeches are loved when they are more conversational.
Your speech nerves come relatively from the thought that you’re there to give A SPEECH. In reality, you’ll just be talking to some human beings.
And you do that every day, don’t you? So why be so nervous this time?
5. Move around
When we’re in a state of fear, it releases adrenaline into our bloodstream. It’s called the “fight or flight” response because stress hormones push us to physically fight the threat, or get away fast.
As a result, we feel like we’re in a pressure cooker while speaking to a group.
If we stand stock-still, this pressure keeps building on. So, move around! Release the pressure. The best part is that when we move, the audience feels that we are relaxed.
Performance anxiety and stage fear are perfectly normal and it can be overcome.
Don’t fight your stage fear, work with it and you’ll surely rock your presentations! And remember: the best way to improve in anything is just by practicing it.
Let us know your opinions and how these tactics helped you, we’d love to know 🙂
Anisha Bhawanani is graduated in Marketing and Finance and loves writing. She is a happy go lucky girl with a head full of dreams, very passionate about traveling and exploring different cultures. One day she wants to win a man booker prize.