Can you guess what is the biggest fear reported by American adults? You might think it’s flying, financial ruin, getting sick, or dying. Believe it or not, public speaking is the biggest fear among American adults.
Fear of public speaking is incredibly common. If you experience anxiety and fear when speaking up in a crowd or giving a speech, you are not alone.
However, if your anxiety and fear is severe, you may suffer from stage fright. Stage fright goes beyond normal fear of speaking in crowds and may actually be a social anxiety disorder. For those who suffer from stage fright to this extent, there are ways to reduce the fear and anxiety.
Stage fright can take a toll on a person’s self-esteem and can cause them to leave school, jobs, or pass up promotions to avoid situations where public speaking is required of them. Don’t let this be you.
Read on to learn about 8 ways to help conquer stage fright.
1. Change Your Perspective
Fear of public speaking is usually deep-rooted. The first step to overcoming your stage right is to re-frame your perception of public speaking.
You likely have many negative thoughts and perceptions associated with speaking in a crowd. You need to re-frame these negative perceptions. There area often deeper fears related to self-confidence that manifest as stage fight.
Public speaking is not inherently scary or meant to be a negative experience. Self-reflection is the best way to uncover the deeper issues and fears related to vulnerability and being less than perfect that may be behind your stage fright. If you can learn to accept what you are feeling and why, you are on the road to recovery.
2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Sometime you need a little backup with step number 1 and that’s okay.
While many of the tips you will find that promise to reduce stage fight may be effective, they will probably not prevent it entirely. In order to prevent and truly conquer stage fright, you need to identify the cause and break the cycle created by episodes of stage fright.
Mental health professionals are highly trained in treating patients using cognitive-behavioral methods. These professionals will help you develop skills to reduce and manage your stage fright but they will also help you identify the insecurities that are the root of the problem.
This company suggests that professional services can be used to overcome stage fright. If you are struggling on your own, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
3. Consider Medication
Using medications alone is not usually recommended because they only mask the symptoms of stage fright and do not prevent the problem.
However, they can be an extremely useful tool alongside self-reflection and cognitive-behavioral therapy. There are various medications and natural products that can do anything from promote general calmness to preventing specific symptoms of stage fright like rapid heart beat. Be sure to talk to your doctor before trying any medication or supplement.
4. Calm Your Mind and Body
Learning methods to relax your mind and body will help you in general and in the midst of an episode of stage fright.
Deep breathing exercises are a great tool to use in the midst of an anxiety attack. Forcefully controlling your breathing focuses your mind and restores proper amounts of oxygen to your brain, eliminating some of the physical symptoms of anxiety.
5. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Be sure to exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep.
You’ve heard it before, but this advice is so often repeated because it is so important.
Avoiding caffeine is especially important in preventing stage fright because caffeine’s effects on the body mimic symptoms of anxiety. Getting enough sleep and making sure it’s restful is especially important on a night before you are planning to do any public speaking.
As far as exercise goes, yoga is one of the best and easiest forms of exercise for people of all ages and ability levels. Yoga not only increases physical fitness but is also teaches relaxation methods that can be useful for conquering your stage fright.
For tips on how to boost your immune system, check out this post.
6. Eliminate Negative Thoughts
While this is easier said than done, if you can master this step you are well on your way to conquering your stage fright.
Instead of thinking about what might go wrong, re-frame your thoughts. Focus on positive thoughts and feelings. Remind yourself that you are prepared for this.
Focus on your strengths and abilities. Worrying about what might go wrong is a misuse of your mental energy and does nothing but create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you feel your thoughts going to a dark place, picture your audience in their underwear!
7. Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes perfect.
Professionals don’t get to their level of success by chance. One of the best ways to build your confidence in your ability to deliver your speech or performance is to practice and then practice some more.
Prepare note cards or memorize your speech, whichever works for your situation. Practice speaking out loud and hear your own voice. Picture your audience as your friends and supporters. They want you to succeed and will likely allow you to practice in front of them if you simply ask.
8. Be Yourself
Relax and accept yourself and your flaws.
Your audience is not going to notice most of the things you are self-conscious about. Once you accept that you are human and are not expected to be perfect, you can conquer your stage fright. If you act naturally and act like yourself, your presentation will be well received and any mistakes will go unnoticed or at worst, could provide a moment of comic relief.
Conquer Your Stage Fright Today
Don’t pass up a promotion, leave your job, or miss out on earning that degree you wanted due to stage fright. Start working on these 8 tips today and the next time you are asked to speak publicly, you will volunteer to go first.
While there are tons of suggested ways to improve stage fright, we think these 8 tips have proven the most successful.
For more tips on ways to improve your life, visit our blog.