Stage fright doesn’t only happen on a stage.
It’s that nerve wracking moment where you are asked to respond to a question in front of a room full of people.
It’s knowing you’re about to deliver presentation on work you’ve delivered.
It’s getting prepared to propose a toast to celebrate a milestone.
Whatever the occasion and no matter how much you think you’re prepared for it, stage fright can kick in and take over. But the good news is that it happens to almost all of us!
Overcoming Stage Fright for Good
Everybody knows that sickly feeling deep down inside your stomach that makes you loose your appetite and turn down that drink you were really enjoying. All of a sudden you lose your focus and concentrate on keeping yourself calm so you don’t do or say something that would make you sound – at least in your head – silly. And that’s just it – its all in YOUR mind but once that feeling sets in, its incredibly difficult to shake off.
So, just how do you manage that feeling? How can you tackle stage fright?
Everybody has their own way of coping with stage fright and truthfully there is no secret ingredient. The wrong methods however would be to:
- Drink a lot of alcohol and think that will alleviate your nerves. It might help a little, but chances are you will look and sound silly.
- Get up, talk really fast and get it over it or finally;
- Look at your audience, panic and… run!
At Young Guns we’ve found there are three very effective techniques to conquering stage fright. These three techniques have helped all of us becomes competent and confident speakers. They all involve mastering the most basic and rudimentary skills. Here are our Top Three tips:
1. Know Your Material
We all know the saying, “practice makes perfect.” Well, its definitely true in this case. Being a strong public speaker is all about practicing your speaking and knowing your material. Nothing flows as easily as when you know what you’re talking about. When you know your material, you will be comfortable talking about your subject and it will come across in a confident and assured manner.
2. Slow Down
Contrary to speaking really fast to get it over it, slowing down is a great way of tackling stage fright. By slowing down time moves faster and you actually end up saying less (go figure!). Slowing down helps you breathe, control your sentences and deliver your topic in such a way that your audience will enjoy listening to you speak.
Pausing is one of the powerful things you can do when you’re speaking.
All of the world’s best speakers pause
They might even hold a long pause
…to let a point really sink in.
It is a terrific way of giving time for the audience to digest your message while also giving you time to compose yourself and collect your thoughts for the next part of what you’re going to say.
The Next Steps
Now that you’ve got three tips to help you tackle your stage fright, you’re ready to start your public speaking journey – however, it doesn’t stop there! Becoming a good public speaker takes time, patience and practice.
If you’d like to put these tips into practice, come down to one of our meetings and check out what we do at Toastmasters. Young Guns is the perfect place to start if you’re looking to get over your stage fright or move to the next level of public speaking.