Stage Fright

Your Stage Fright won't normally be a problem for you once you understand it properly.

Presentation anxiety (or even Glossophobia if you want to impress someone who's impressed by big words). Basically all just labels for a fairly common phenomenon - bad feelings that arise when you think about a performance you've got to give in front of a group.

Like all mind-made fears, this anxiety doesn't happen in response to a real threat - in fact all you have to do is think about the up-coming speech, and you're sick to your stomach for example. And it's no use denying those feelings is it?

They are quite real and in some cases cause some pretty horrible results like actually being sick or fainting or freezing in place like a deer caught in headlights.

The key to defeating it lies in the fact that it's caused by your mind.

Studies done in the 1980s found that people think a bit like this:

  • There's going to be people in the audience who'll judge me and I care about what they think
  • I could screw this up
  • I've got to do well
  • I'm not sure whether I'll do well or not
  • I'm very worried about my own appearance and how well I'll do

I think you'll agree that's a pretty good recipe! Just mix all ingredients in one human head and leave to simmer until the actual speech! If you think this way I don't see any way you could not have stage fright.

Other reading I've done recently suggested that different people feel the pain of stage fright at different times. In other words some people freak out as soon as they know they have to speak, others get the wobbles just before going on stage and others get it as soon as they start to speak. This author suggested that you need to work out what type you are and use techniques suited to each situation.

The idea with a lot of the techniques for dealing with Stage Fright is to work out how it affects you and then try different tricks to lessen the effects.

But why not go to the cause of the problem itself?

And what is that? Look above at the 'stinkin' thinkin' and you find your answer.

Stop thinking that way. Or more correctly, stop making a big deal about those thoughts.

You see the problem is not the thoughts 'I might screw this up'. Yes you might. The thought only becomes problem for you if you attach any importance to it.

So next time that thought appears in your head - just look at it as though you were in charge (which of course you are).

If you're still thinking along the lines of 'I can't control how I feel about speaking' Then I'll ask you (as every good sales person would ask) can you please put me through to the decision maker?

Of course you can control how you relate to your thoughts. If you can't then who exactly?

Remember to question everything you've ever learnt about the fear of speaking.

Trust in your own natural ability to express yourself and remember that the key to the whole game of speaking with no fear is:

  • Understand It
  • Love It
  • Practice It

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