Practical tips and tricks to overcome stage fright
As a speaker and entertainer that has appeared on stages in over 128 countries, I have learnt to deal with stage fright. Here are 35 different tips and ideas which may help you feel more relaxed on stage. Not all of them may be for you, but I am positive that many of these tips will make a positive difference for you. Here is part 1 of 4. The complete E-Book can be downloaded for free from Smashwords, or click here to download from my site.
1.Set an end time for your fear.
If you have a presentation at 20h00 tonight, set yourself a goal to get over the fear by 16h00 so that you can focus on preparing for your speech. It sounds crazy, but by setting yourself an end time, you are actually giving yourself extra time for the fear to diffuse itself.
2.Talk to the audience as friends
If you had to do your speech for a close friend, would it sound as structured and formal as it does now? Most probably not! Look at the audience and make eye contact with one person at a time, talk to that person as if they were this friend. In other words, talk to one person at a time in the audience. This will relax you and make the whole pace of your speech more informal. As such you will be connecting on a deeper level with the audience and they will be able to relate to you more effectively. Plus of course this approach reduces your anxiety.
3.Take it easy/ Don’t take it easy
There are two schools of thought here:
a.) On the day of your presentation, relax! Take it easy and don’t be too busy. It will fluster you more and make you worry about preparing for the presentation. Rather schedule lots of free time on this day so you can get your mind around it.
b.) Other people find that the more they do on the day, the less they think about the stress of the presentation, and this helps them cope.
Only you know which personality type you are and what will suit you.
4.Know your stuff
I have always believed that if you know what you are talking about, there is no reason to be nervous. Make a point of understanding what you intend talking about and do not learn it parrot fashion. When you understand and know the topic, you speak naturally and hence more confidently. Also, should a technical hitch occur, because you are confident on your subject, this shouldn’t phase you.
If you are nervous, odds are your muscles will be tight and your body stiff. 10 Minutes before you go onto stage, do a few simple stretch exercises. This will loosen you up and relax your whole body.
6.Loose yourself in the material
When you become the material you are speaking about, you go into another zone and the focus moves away from you - this can make a big difference.
7.Practice in front of an audience
Even if you just gather your family, social circle or offer the talk for free to an old age home - an audience is vital! The more you practice with a live audience, the easier it gets and the less the fear becomes.
8.Be at the venue with enough time to spare
Obviously if you arrive late and have to run onto stage, you will be stressed. Give yourself ample time at the venue to acclimatise and get used to the auditorium. Remember, there could be a scheduling change on the day and you may have to go onto stage earlier than planned. This won’t do the nerves any good if you are still in your car and get a frantic phone call from the organiser that you have to be on stage in 2 minutes! It’s always better to be early.