How to battle stage fright

Having just worked on 2 major events, I’ve been deeply reminded of the bane of most speakers’ existence:  STAGE FRIGHT

Stage fright is what causes speakers: to forget content that they know inside and out, to speak with a nervous voice, to fidget, to close their body language up and just generally not perform as well as they could.  (Remember, a good presentation is a stage performance)

Nothing helps stage fright more than experience (the more you present, the less scarey it is), but in classic TPS blog style, I’ve got some tips:

  • Pretend your audience is only 4 people, 1 person per corner of the room.  This way you both look like you’re looking at everyone and are mentally shrinking your audience.
  • Practice.  Yes, I’m a broken record on this.  Practice really does make perfect, but in this case, it also helps you fall into autopilot for your presentation.  Autopilot is the savior of the paralyzed.  You may feel completely paralyzed, but to the audience, you’ll look like you giving a presentation.
  • Center yourself beforehand.  Before my speakers go on stage, I lead them through a visualization exercise, encouraging them to visualize themselves giving an amazing presentation and getting all of the accolades that they want.  If you don’t have a coach to help center you, try finding a meditation corner.
  • Open your body language before getting on stage.  Head up, chest open.  Uncross your legs. Hold that for as long as you can stand before you go on stage, it’ll translate.
  • Bond with your fellow speakers.  Feeling like you’re in the same boat with someone else can alleviate some of the stress.
  • Channel it.  We get nervous because we’re doing something worthwhile.  Recognize that nervousness for what it is:  extreme reaction to an awesome opportunity!

Happy presentation giving!

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