Overcoming Performance Pressure and Stage Fright during Public Speaking
Updated: Jun 29, 2021
“Courage is grace under pressure.” – Ernest Hemingway
There are two types of people in the world: those who enjoy public speaking and those who are unconfident of doing so. Many people have performance anxiety and stage presenting issues, which is completely natural. It's critical that you understand what the issue is so that you can overcome it completely. Stage fright, often known as performance anxiety, is a chronic phobia that affects people of all ages. It is a persistent fear that arises in a person when they are expected to perform in front of an audience. So, how can you get over stage fear when giving a public speech? Here’s a list of the best tips and advice around how you can overcome performance pressure and stage fright.
Overcoming Performance Pressure and Stage Fright
Know What You're Doing
Preparation is the only thing that will reduce stage fear in its tracks. Understand your subject, your speech, and, most importantly, your target audience. You have no cause to be afraid if you know what you're talking about. You'll be able to speak more naturally and confidently if you know what you're talking about. Furthermore, if a technical issue arises, you will be unfazed because you are a pro.
More Practice To Overcome Performance Pressure
Knowing what you're talking about can help, but it won't solve the problem. Before the performance or public speaking event, you should rehearse as much as possible. Know your material inside and out, and practice as much as possible (ideally in front of a live audience) to gain confidence.
You must understand that, while stage fright is "all in your head," the terror expresses itself physically. Changing your negative speech is the best defense. Don't be concerned about "what if I forget the content." Change your thinking to something more optimistic, such as, “What if I am really good at this?” Positive affirmation will go a long way in lowering stress, even if it sounds uncomplicated or too simple.
Worst Case Scenario
If positive thinking isn't working to calm you down, it's time to consider the worst-case scenario. Once you've done this, you'll see that the worst-case situation isn't so horrible after all. This may assist in calming your nerves and reducing performance pressure.
It Isn't Just About You
Though it may seem that everyone is aiming to make fun of you, criticize you, or judge you, this is not the reality. Get over the feeling that the entire world is watching your every move. Concentrate on your speech, your audience, and what you owe them. This will relieve the pressure that has been building up.
When Things Don't Turn Out the Way You Want Them To
Something will go wrong sooner or later. It's possible that your projector or microphone will cease working. If you already know what you're talking about, this won't bother you nearly as much. If your microphone, for example, stop working, don't worry about it; just speak louder. Most likely, the technical staff are already trying to resolve it so that your performance can go smoothly.
Take Deep Breaths And Don't Be Hasty
Don't scurry through your presentation. Begin slowly and gradually; increase your speed until you reach a comfortable level. You'll need time to adjust to the audience, and they'll need time to adjust to you.
Concentrate On Completing The First Five Minutes.
Assume that the entire presentation will last only five minutes. It will be less stressful as a result of this. Concentrate on just getting through the first five minutes; you'll have already calmed down and the rest will be easy. This will help you overcome performance pressure.
Never Feel Bad About Being Nervous.
No one will notice you are nervous three quarters of the time. What's the point of telling them? You may be shivering and shaking, yet your audience may be completely unaware of it. Don't bring it up. It will make your audience nervous as well, and they will be too preoccupied with your performance to absorb much of what you have to say.
Don't Tell Others About Your Mistakes
You've planned and practiced your speech or presentation, and you're confident about it. On stage, you suddenly realize you've jumbled up the topics' order or have forgotten a key point. But keep in mind that you're the only one who knows about it. Your audience, on the other hand, does not. So don't make them aware of a blunder they didn't even realize they'd made. If you bring it up, some individuals may begin seeking for other flaws, which may ultimately detract from the main point of your presentation.
Arrive On Time
If you are late, this will undoubtedly increase your anxiousness. Arrive early and familiarize yourself with your surroundings. You can also take a look around the stage and auditorium to get a feel of the place.
Rather Than Fighting Your Stage Fright, Work With It.
You must expect and accept that you will be nervous during your presentation, particularly during the first few minutes. Your anxiousness will work against you the more you reject it. When speaking in public, once again, concentrate on the presentation and the tension will gradually subside.
Learning to improve your speaking or performance skills is beneficial, but it is rarely enough to help you overcome your fear. Any negative impressions, ideas, thoughts, pictures, or predictions you have about public speaking or performing must be addressed and revised. It's also useful to explore the deeper worries of being seen and heard by others, exposing weakness, and being judged. Instead of relying just on medication or natural items, it is recommended that you learn techniques to lessen and manage your fear and anxiety. To break the cycle of avoiding unpleasant situations, it's also necessary to acquire cognitive-behavioral techniques. Avoidance may provide instant relief, but in the long term, it perpetuates your dread. If you have speech anxiety or stage fright, reach out to us for a personal consultation session to help you overcome it.
Scientific References: Stein, M.B., Walker, J.R., & Forde, D.R. (1996). Public speaking fears in the community: Prevalence, impact on functioning, and diagnostic classification. Archives of General Psychiatry, 53, 169-174.