Don’t Let Stage Fright Make You A Bad Speaker
Just because you have to deal with stage fright does not mean that you have to be a bad speaker. I don’t know anyone that does not have a difficult time speaking in front of an audience to one degree or another. In fact, a healthy amount of fear while giving a speech will help you to be a better speaker. So you have a choice to make, you can either fall apart because you are afraid to speak in front of an audience or you can use your fear to help you to be the best speaker possible. Here are some typical problems that many new speakers face that can make you a bad speaker and can easily be overcome with a little practice.
Some people that have anxieties tend to take their problems to the opposite extreme. For example, if somebody is dealing with stage fright they may overcompensate by becoming overly relaxed. This will not come across as you being relaxed and poised to your audience. What it will do, however, is to make you a poor speaker. One classic example of this is that many new speakers that are nervous will overcompensate for their nervousness by leaning on the podium or becoming overly familiar with a strange audience. It is necessary to maintain your composure by standing up tall when you’re speaking and to build a relationship with your audience during the course of your presentation. Do not allow your nervousness to make you seem arrogant.
Another problem that many people have is that they let their nervousness show up by using unnatural body infections. I once heard a talk that was given by somebody that was supposed to be experienced yet the entire time that they were speaking they were jingling their keys in their pocket. This was not only distracting but it also showed that the person was nervous and was difficult to concentrate on the information that they were trying to convey. Nervousness can also show up in over gesturing or facial tics. One of the best ways to pick up on this kind of a problem is to have somebody videotape you giving the presentation in front of a group of trusted friends. You can then watch yourself for any of your body movements that come across as being unnatural.
The most important thing in dealing with stage fright is that you do not allow your audience to know that you are nervous. Many speakers will feed off of the emotions of their audience and if they are able to control the situation they’re stage fright will disappear quickly after they began their presentation. This is something that is very important to remember because if you are dealing with severe stage fright you need to handle yourself correctly from the beginning in order to overcome it. Once you realize that you are in control of the situation it will be much easier for you to relax and to go through your information in a logical and comfortable manner.
Overcoming The Symptoms Of Stage Fright
If you suffer from stage fright in any form then I’m sure that you would like to be able to overcome those problems. Since stage fright can take on many different forms and have a wide variety of symptoms so it is difficult to diagnose each case in one article. What we can do, however, is to speak about a few of the most common symptoms of stage fright and what you can do to overcome them. This will help to cover the basics and will also give you an idea of what you can do to overcome any additional stage fright symptoms that you may be experiencing. Here are the top three stage fright symptoms and what you can do to overcome them before you take the platform.
Dry Mouth – this is a very annoying problem to have, especially when you are going to be speaking in a public engagement. Because your dry mouth will cause you to do things like smacking your lips uncontrollably and it will also change the pitch and tone of your voice. If you are suffering from dry mouth then you need to take a moment to relax, and then go suck a lemon. This may seem like a rather flip comment, but it actually works. The sourness of the lemon will cause your mouth to produce saliva for a long period of time. If you are going to be speaking for a long time, then have some lemon water on the platform for you to sip during your speech.
Shaky Hands – The problem of shaking is not usually confined to only the hands, but this is where it is typically noticed because of you holding your notes. At times your hands may shake so much that you are not able to read your own notes and this can bring your presentation to a screeching halt. Other than really being able to relax a little bit there are very few options to overcome this problem. I have found, however, that holding my notes with two hands will help a great deal. The only other option that you really have is to have a place to set your notes, such as a podium or perhaps even have them on a clipboard.
Shaky Knees – The problem of your knees knocking together is actually something that has been around for thousands of years, the first written instance of it being recorded in the Bible. So you are actually in good company when it comes to having a problem with shaking knees. There are also a few options to be able to overcome this, but one of the best ways is to shift your weight a little bit from side to side. It is necessary to stand straight with your feet below you in order to appear poised for your speech. But there is nothing wrong with shifting your weight slightly to overcome shaky knees provided you do not draw notice to it from your audience.
There are many other things that could go wrong whenever you are giving your speech. One of the best things to do is just to be prepared to take a deep breath during your talk without being too noticeable about it. The moment that you take a deep breath you will find that you will regain your composure to one degree or another.
“Youtube Video – 6 Ways to Control Your Stage Fright”
Professional speaker and communication coach Dr. Bill Lampton tells you how to control your stage fright, in six easy steps…
Here is the transcript.
Hello! I’m Bill Lampton welcome to another version of let’s talk about it. Today we’re going to talk about six ways to control your stage fright. Notice that I didn’t say eliminated we never really get rid of it even seasoned performers like Carly Simon and Barbra Streisand stayed away from audiences for years because they didn’t want to face a live audience.
You might want to know Bill you’re a professional speaker. Do you ever get stage fright? Yeah, I still do but I’ve found six ways to control it and I want to share those with you.
In the first place, PREPARE. It sounds like an oversimplification but it really does matter. Prepare, this is something that I tell the people that I work with when I’m providing executive coaching so that they can improve their presentation skills. One of the comments I make is the more preparation you have ahead of time, the less perspiration you have during the speech.
- PUT IN PERSPECTIVE.
The second thing I would say is PUT YOUR SPEAKING in PERSPECTIVE while the event is so important to you and seems even monumental. Remember it’s really not likely to be earth-shattering. In fact, in your lifetime in mind there are only a few speeches that have changed history. Don’t expect yours too. In fact, your job will probably not be in jeopardy nor will any other relationships nor your reputation if you give one bad speech. Roger Ailes said you have 720 hours in the month what if one of those hours is a bad speech you’ve still got many other great hours in your month.
- THINK ABOUT SYMPTOMS.
Again, I would say, think about the symptoms of stage fright: sweaty palms, your throat gets constricted and dry you. Wish you could have a drink of water. Your hands are trembling. Your knees are shaking. Your stomach is churning. But wait, think about it all of these are internal, not external and the audience won’t be aware of them. This is one of the great values of videotapes. Playback one of your speeches that you gave and you’ll be amazed you’ll say gosh you know I was so scared but it didn’t show at all. Therefore, don’t ever tell your audience that you’re afraid because they’re not likely to know it unless you tip them off and that will diminish their confidence in you.
- AUDIENCES ARE FRIENDLY.
Speaking of audiences. Let’s remember that we need to change our attitude about audiences. Audiences are not waiting to be our critics they’re waiting to be our cheerleaders. Why? Because they have been in the same situation themselves and frankly they’re glad that you’re the one up there speaking and not them. Think about it. When you sit in an audience do you want the speaker to fail? No. You want the speaker to succeed because failure is very uncomfortable for everybody.
- FORGET IMPRESSION.
Another point DON’T TRY to MAKE a GREAT IMPRESSION If that sounds contradictory, there is another side to it. If you are trying to make a great impression, your focus is on yourself. Your focus instead should be on the message and on the audience that you want to receive that message. So don’t think about what’s my gesture inappropriate. Don’t mispronounce a word did I stumble here are there. No. Think instead about the message that you want to convey to this audience.
- THE TRUMP CARD
And then to I would suggest. Remember that you as the speaker hold the trump card. If you play bridge you know how powerful the trump card is. The trump card makes you a winner. Okay? Likewise in speaking, you have the trump card because you and only you know what you intended to say what you meant to say. So if you leave out something or if you miss the state of fact, don’t beat yourself over the head about that. Never let the audience know that you’re aware of it because they certainly aren’t.
Now take these six tips that I have mentioned and use them they really work they have worked for me and for many veteran speakers and they will work for you. I’m Bill Lampton and I’m glad we got to talk about it.
Reducing Stage Fright to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking
Stage fright is by far the most common reason for people to develop their fear of speaking in public and reducing stage fright to overcome your fear of public speaking may be the best way to go.
There is actually no definite science that will help you reduce your fear of public speaking, but surely, here are some common steps to use to make it work for you.
Try to accept the fear and embrace it, not that you want your fear to take over, but for you to know how your fear works and understand its nature.
Don’t try to fight the feeling, instead, try to look for a way around it.
Rest assured, your fear will pass more easily once you get to terms with it and not be frightened about it anymore.
Next, try to feed yourself with the idea of calming exercises and gain firm footing by taking deep and slow gentle breaths to help relax your mind and body.
You may also aid this by thinking of positive thoughts and enjoyable images to help clear your mind and attention to the matter at hand.
Never ever try to lose track of reality and stay connected with what goes on around and what is happening at the present moment.
Listen closely to others and pay attention to what goes on around you.
Make the most of the situation by telling yourself of supportive, positive, encouraging and esteemable things.
Think of yourself as your greatest fan and supporter, who could help you go through the circumstance of fear you hope to overcome.
Reflect on your past successes and make the most out of our strengths and abilities, by drawing out that inner strength within you to make you weather through the situation.
Practice makes perfect since it is important to help you keep track of focus by mastering your topic or subject.
Maintain a positive mental attitude, since it will surely reflect on your current disposition and attitude towards your audience.
Make sure to prepare ahead of time and never ever entertain the thought of cramming. Rehearsing more and even overdoing it can be good for you since it will help you gain mastery of your subject matter.
Always make it a point to project confident and self-assured attitude. Body posture is an important indicator so try to make it look as if everything is fine even if you don’t feel like it. Your body language can tell if you are at your weak spot or not.
Always have focus, never try to be distracted by anything, lest you lose your train of thought and panic. If it should happen just try to pause for a while and compose your thoughts.
Avoid trying to be perfect or be number one. The key to overcoming your fear is not against others but convincing yourself that you are doing a good job and you are good at it. Try to avoid focusing on what mistakes could happen, but on what you think you can do to better improve your performance.
Surely, these are things you may be able to do on your own without having to spend countless amounts of money, just as long as you know that reducing stage fright is the best way to overcome your fear of public speaking.
Join Toastmasters and find a club that you like to practise your speeches in a friendly environment. You are welcome to visit our Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club if you are living in Singapore.