How To Overcome Stage Fright: The 7 Steps
Everybody feels goose bumps sometimes when they have anything to do before an audience. You may start first by worrying about what to really say and then the anxiety might snowball into a full-blown black out – it’s like everything you just planned to say just went out the window and then you stand before your audience tongue-tied and motionless. Then you would want to turn round and run way. That is a nightmare no one wants to experience before an audience. But if this is an issue for you, with a little practice, your stage fright could be etched into your past never to haunt you again. You need only follow the steps highlighted below.
(1) Know your subject thoroughly
We’ve said this before, fear is begotten of ignorance and so is your stage fright. You couldn’t be frightened over giving a speech on something you’ve thoroughly mastered. Never! So one way you could cure your stage fright is to know the topic you are to speak about thoroughly. This also means doing a thorough research on the topic.
(2) Master your fears
The brave man is not he who feels no fear, for that were stupid and irrational: but he whose noble soul subdues its fears and bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from. – Johanna Ballie
Understand this, as far public speaking is concerned you could never eradicate the jitters of speaking before an audience completely. Even the greatest of artists who have become masters of the stage still feel jittery each time they are to appear before an audience. So rather than allow your stage freight numb you into silence be its master. A little bit of nervousness can help get your adrenalin going and also prevent complacency as a speak before your audience. But as time wears on, you’ll become more familiar with your audience and the nervousness will just fizzle out.
(3) Take a deep breathe
Taking deep breathes before you deliver any you begin your presentation will help calm your nerves and help you also maintain focus. Take long deep breathes before you respond to your cue in the presentation. Inhale deeply and exhale very slowly.
(4) Take a bottle of water with you.
Haven’t you ever wondered why some speakers drink water in the course of their presentations? It is a trick no one will tell you. Each time they muddle up a point or forget just what they were going to say, they take a sip from their glass or bottle water and no one would be any the wiser. Do the same, when you skip a point and can’t recollect rather than panic pick up your bottle water and take a sip. Then continue from where you last stopped.
(5) Use a little humor
Before you ever leave your home to make your speech or presentation, write down a few of your favorite jokes and be prepared to share those jokes with your audience to soften up the tense atmosphere around you. This will also help put your audience at ease and make your presentation a truly memorable one to your audience.
(6) Eliminate filter words
Each time you get stuck anywhere in the course of your presentation, either take a short pause or take sip of water. Avoid using the umms and ahhhs in your speech as this will break the ebb and flow of your presentation and leave your audience further confused.
(7) Practice eye contact
One of the ways you could kill of nervousness in the course of your speech or presentation is to practice eye contact. Practice eye contact with your audience as you progress in your delivery. From time to time, gaze into a cross section of your audience.
A youngish lawyer with penetrating insight, Patrick Herbert is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Lawstudenthub, a site dedicated to helping new wigs find their footing in a trickily slippery legal profession and stay current with emerging developments in the legal industry. He holds an LL.B from the University of Benin and a BL from the Nigerian Law School, Abuja.
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