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Fear of Public Speaking

5 Tips on How to Overcome Stage Fright

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Here are 5 simple tips on how to overcome stage fright and be able to not be traumatized by your fear of public speaking:

Overcoming Stage Fright Tip #1. Admit your fears to yourself

If you want to get over your fear of public speaking, start by imagining yourself giving a speech.  Write down all thoughts of fear, impending doom, anxiety, apprehension, dread, foreboding or panic.

The audience will hate me.   I’ll look stupid.  My mouth will go dry. I’ll sweat profusely.   I’ll start cussing — and won’t be able to stop.  I’ll be so embarrassed that I’ll keel over dead.  And then I’ll start to smell…

Overcoming Stage Fright Tip #2. Evaluate your fears

The next step to overcoming stage fright is to go back over these lists and cross off all unrealistic fears.  For instance, if one of your fears of public speaking is “dying” on the platform, you can X that out.  More people have died from clogged pores than from public speaking.  Although giving a speech might make you sweat and grunt, dying is not an option — even when you wish it would be.

Overcoming Stage Fright Tip #3. Confide your fears to a friend

Once you’ve figured out what your unrealistic stage fright fears are, call a friend and tell him or her your realistic fears.  Fear loses a lot of its power when it’s out in the open.  Fear also tends to shrink when you share the burden with a sympathetic listener – especially if they have some good solutions — or can make you laugh.  Maybe your friend will answer your fear of sweating profusely by telling you, “Use lots of deodorant and wear black.”  Once we can joke about our fears, and in this case our stage fright fears, they seem to go away.

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Overcoming Stage Fright Tip #4. Focus on what you’re GIVING the audience.

Focusing on others helps to dissolve fear. That’s why I make sure that everything I say is AUTHENTIC and HELPFUL. We’ve all been to an open mic with a performer who NEEDS our laughs. We feel burdened – it’s an energy drain. GIVING to an audience GENERATES ENERGY and alleviates fear.

BEFORE YOU SPEAK OR PERFORM – go over your material to make sure that your message is FOR THEM, rather than FOR YOU. Focusing on giving is likely to bring down your stage fright levels.

Overcoming Stage Fright Tip #5. Take action

Fear is like the school bully who’s made you his target.  You can try to avoid him by walking home a different way, but he will always find you.  Are you going to let the fear of losing your lunch money dictate where and how you live?  Or — will you do the scary thing and deal directly with the bad guy?  Successful people aren’t necessarily less frightened than you – they just do things in spite of being frightened.

Don’t wait until you get over your stage fright to start speaking.  Do it in spite of being afraid.  And when you speak:

– Focus on your ideas rather than your insecurity.

– Keep your speech simple by having one main idea that you can say clearly.

– If something goes wrong – don’t ignore it – joke about it.  (“I wanted feedback on my speech – I just didn’t realize it would all be coming from the microphone.”)

– Fix a dry mouth by squeezing your cheeks (preferably the ones on your face.)

And finally, if you find yourself getting nervous, sweaty, and anxious — stop — take a deep breath — look an audience member in the eye — and wonder, “Is that Victoria Secret underwear my boss is wearing?!”

If you use these 5 tips, you’ll find that overcoming stage fright is possible.

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