To start with, we want to remind you that this is a very common fear. Even actors with the highest self-esteem and self-confidence might go through it at some point.
So even if it has never happened to you, it’s a good idea to learn some tricks for beating this tricky situation and even coming out of it with flying colors. You have to train your body and mind and learn to control your breathing. Let’s dig a little deeper.
If you’re going to be in front of a huge audience waiting for you to do something, the first thing you have to do is try to calm your body and mind. This means calming yourself on the inside so that you can go out on stage calm and clear-headed.
If you’re going to play in a concert, act, or give a speech in front of a lot of people, try to stabilize your voice. It’s the main tool you’ll be using, so you have to make sure it’s working properly. Sing softly, hum a song to yourself, gargle water, and warm up your vocal cords.
This part is extremely important! Whisper peaceful, positive words to yourself. Then breathe deeply. Repeat this process 5 times. Just watch it slow down your heart and give you confidence. Here are some phrases you can use here:
- “It’s going to be alright.”
- “Trust yourself.”
- “You can do it.”
You can also do stretches. Move your head from one side to the other, bounce your shoulders, stretch your back, legs, and arms. It’s a way of getting rid of the bodily tension that you yourself might be creating.
You can even come up with your own tricks or rituals For example, you might chew gum beforehand, drink an energy drink, meditate, or wear a specific color. The goal is just for you to go on stage confident in yourself. So if you need to leave 5 minutes later to do that, don’t rush yourself. It’s better to wait a little bit than to rush yourself and let stage fright take over.
Prepare your speech
A lot of the time we feel nervous because we aren’t sure we’ve mastered the subject we have to talk about. That’s why you should know it well and be able to talk freely about the big idea and its key points.
Repeat your speech as many times as you need to have confidence. This doesn’t mean you have to learn every sentence by memory. It just means you need to really know the key ideas and be able to express them in other words.
That way it’ll be easier for you to pick back up if you stumble at any point. In the end it’s about feeling comfortable and getting on stage feeling like a fish in water.
Find a mirror and practice in front of it. Act, listen, and correct yourself. You can even take a video of yourself doing the presentation. Watching yourself is a huge help when it comes to the process of beating stage fright. Better safe than sorry!
Use easy-to-read words and short sentences. If you use words that are hard to pronounce or sentences with too many clauses, you’ll definitely end up stumbling and getting lost for the rest of your speech. All that will make you even more nervous and you’ll end up being completely paralyzed.
Visualize yourself and get to know the setting
Although a lot of the time it’s not easy to visit the place where you’ll be in front of your audience, it’s a really good idea to try. It will help you visualize yourself addressing everyone else and that will help your confidence.
Knowing how the place is set up and where the seats, spaces, and lights are will make you feel better. If there’s no way to go there beforehand, show up a few hours before any audience members arrive. That way you can familiarize yourself with the environment you’ll be in before it’s full of people.
You can also try to talk to some of the audience members a few minutes before you go on. That intimacy will calm your nerves and balance you out.
Calmness and imagination during your speech
Speak slowly. One of the biggest indicators that someone is going through stage fright is that they start to speak faster. If you talk too fast you’ll trip on your words and people won’t understand you.
Then when you notice the commotion in the audience, you’ll start to panic and all your effort will have been worth nothing. The key is to make sure you speak at the same speed the whole time.
If you notice that your voice, hands, or even your whole body is still shaking, try to breathe deeply. Give yourself 5 seconds and imagine that your favorite person is there with you. Someone who loves, respects, and supports you. Just picture that they’re the one sitting in each seat. Then take a second and feel how their strength and positive energy are right there with you.
Another trick you can use is to imagine that the whole audience is in their underwear, or wearing really weird clothes. That way you won’t be the only one “stripping” away your defenses in front of them.
Lastly, always remember: relaxation, preparation, visualization, and concentration. These are the 4 basic keys for successfully beating stage fright. Try out these 4 tricks and you’ll see how much you start to like public speaking!