Overcoming Stage Fright When Speaking




There's only two types of people in the world—the ones that entertain and the ones that observe. Well, baby, I'm a put-on-a-show- kind of girl. Don't like the back seat; gotta be first (oh-oh)...


Oh-oh...oh...alright, you caught me. I'm quoting Britney Spear's song "Circus." Just because the song has a catchy beat doesn't mean its lyrics don't resonate well when speaking to a group of people.


Performance anxiety or stage fright can be a crippling phobia, but that doesn't mean you can't be the born ring leader you're meant to be.


Here are some ways to overcome your fear and be the ring leader and call the shots.


Know Your Stuff


Know your topic, talking points, and most importantly - know who you're talking to. Knowing the ins and outs of your subject will allow you to speak authentically and naturally, making you more confident. Plus, if hiccups occur, you'll move past them because you know your stuff.


Keep Practicing


Practice until you don't want to practice anymore. Then keep going. Solidify your speech, presentation, or video with practice, so you don't need your notes. *gasp* Throw your notes like confetti halfway through for an unmistakable dramatic flair! Wouldn't that be amazing? Wait...no...yes...no...gah!...it's up to you. Dramatic flair aside, practicing will build your confidence and allow you to dance all over your nerves.


Manifest The Outcome


This may seem silly, but it's essential. Take a few minutes and relax your mind. Visualize how you want your presentation to go. Imagine the dancers. Imagine the pyrotechnics...wait..Oops…I did it again. Britney-brain took over. But seriously, visualize how you want to feel when you're speaking. Do this a few times a week as you prepare, and you'll be surprised how much of an impact it has.


Don't Feel Rushed


It's showtime. You've prepared and practiced. Now is the time to take a deep breath and present. As you begin, go slow and get comfortable. Build up to the apex of your presentation. Put on the show and let your audience join you.


Don't Tell People You're Nervous


You've done everything right. You practiced and visualized the outcome. When you're speaking, you might feel a mixture of emotions. It's okay; nine times out of ten - your audience won't have any idea. Remember - you're the ring leader. Don't just stand there watching, show them what you can do. Make the stage your dance floor. (Literal or figurative - whatever you're comfortable with). By the time you finish, the crowd might be passing a giant yellow snake around and singing “I’m a slaaave for you”.


You Don't Make Mistakes. *wink wink*


Like any performer, you don't make mistakes. Repeat after me, "I don't make mistakes." You just experience unscripted moments of spontaneity which makes your presentation memorable. You are the one that knows how "the dance" is supposed to go - the audience doesn't. Let them think that your literal or figurative hiccup is part of the plan.


At the end of the day, if you're willing to face your fears and follow these steps, it's possible to overcome your stage fright. You could surprise yourself and find comfort and empowerment in expressing yourself in front of others. Heck, you might even sing to yourself “Hit me baby one more time!”



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