PROVEN ways to overcome stage fright when public speaking
Picture the scene. You’ve been invited to speak at a major event. Your slot is right after lunch and you’re sitting through the morning’s agenda quite calmly. After lunch, once everyone is seated, your breathing starts to speed up, your stomach is churning and your palms are beginning to sweat.
This can’t be right. You’re an experienced leader, you’re well-rehearsed, and you know your subject matter inside and out.
Stage fright is very common and can happen to the best of us. Fortunately, I’ve got some techniques that will help. The most important thing is to take control of your nerves so they don’t put you off public speaking for life. You just need to use some solid coping mechanisms so you can deliver your message with confidence.
- Know your material and know your message
If you know your message inside out and you are really familiar with your material, the less chance you have of messing up. Notice, that I don’t say you need to rehearse and rehearse, as this can cause you to disconnect with your audience an lose some of your authenticity. You want to sound natural, yet confident, so don’t over rehearse as it could cause you to lose that important natural connection with the audience.
- Set yourself a time limit to feel nervous
Nerves are all part and parcel of public speaking. Most people get them, but don’t let them take over you. The first few minutes will be the worst as you start to warm up and get used to standing in front of your audience. You should therefore practice your opener, more than anything. Once you’re settled and into your pace, your audience are warming to you and you’re feeling more at ease.
Don’t allow yourself to feel nervous after those first few minutes. The worst is done. Now you have to focus on getting your important message across.
- Focus on your message, not your inner critic
Your message is important right? It means a great deal to you and carries important weight. You only have this one chance to deliver that message to these people, so it’s important they hear it right.
Be aware of your inner critic catastrophizing everything and making you anxious. It will steer your brain to focus on negative trivial things like someone yawning in the audience and will convince you that everyone in the room is bored. Stay in the moment, focus on your one big message and make the most of this important moment you have.
- Visualize your end game
When you’ve delivered your final punchline, have a visualization in your mind about how you want to feel, and how you want the audience to feel at the end; the comments they might make to you in the coffee break and on social media. This will allow your brain to focus more on the positive rather than allowing it to catastrophize.
- Practice speaking
Use every opportunity to get up in front of different groups of people, at work, at home or amongst friends to deliver a mini presentation. It will allow yourself to get used to that feeling of all eyes being on you and help you work through the fear.
It may be that you will always feel a little anxious when you get up to speak, but by practicing regularly, you’ll get used to that feeling and it will soon feel normal and less frightening.
I regularly get asked to coach leaders who have terrible stage fright. One presentation coaching session with me could really help turn it around for you.
Book a FREE Consultation here and let me help you through some strategies.