A Public Speaker’s Plan To Fight Stage Fright

by drjim on January 22, 2013

If you are going to do battle with stage fright, then show up armed for a fight

If you are going to do battle with stage fright, then show up armed for a fightImage Credit

It’s you vs. stage fright. Who’s going to win the next time that you are asked to give a speech? It turns out that this is one battle that you can always emerge a victor from. However, in order to make this happen you are going to have to prepare yourself for battle before the speech starts…

Don’t Do The Wrong Thing Before You Speak

When you are getting ready to give a speech, forget using any clever presentation tips, your stage fright may show up and want to do battle. If this happens, you need to know what not to do just as much as you need to know what you should be doing.

Although we all know what the importance of public speaking is, we can be stopped in our tracks by a serious case of stage fright. Each one of us reacts to the challenge of dealing with stage fright in a different way. However, it comes across in the same way – our body exhibits some sort of reaction. This is going to be the key to not doing the wrong things.

All too often we have received some sort of suggestion in the past from somebody as to how we should prepare to battle our stage fright. More often than not, these suggestions have something to do with how we should prepare our body in order to give our speech even with stage fright standing there before us.

What many speakers do in order to take on their stage fright is to make some sort of physical movement before they start to speak. This can be a simple as either tensing or stretching your body. The reason that we do this is because we are trying to “puff” ourselves up.

There are a lot of different names for this kind of posturing. At different times we call it “standing tall” or even “anchoring”. No matter what you end up calling it, it’s the wrong thing to do. The reason that this is such a bad idea is because of what it does to our voices. We end up tensing up the muscles that we use for breathing – and that makes it even harder to breath. Tensing your body will result in sore muscles half way through your speech. All of these factors will result in you being distracted while you are speaking and will take away from your message.

What To Do Before You Speak To Make Sure That You Win The Battle

Now that you know what you shouldn’t do before your next speech when you have to do battle with your stage fright, the big question is just exactly what should you be doing?

The first thing to do is to find out what you are doing wrong – because we all do different things. So, pretend for just a moment that you are standing off to the right of the stage that in a few moments you will be occupying in order to deliver a speech. What I’m going to want you to do is to stand up and walk onto that pretend stage.

While you are doing this, observe what you are doing with your body. Are you tightening your upper body or are you starting to do some stretching in order to prepare yourself to take the stage? If you are doing either one of these things, then this is exactly what you need to stop doing before your next speech.

Instead, what you are going to want to be doing is to work at getting comfortable with being yourself. Ultimately, the real you is what your audience wants to see and what they’ll use their listening skills to hear because that is what they are going to be able to connect with. A puffed up version of you is going to seem to be strange and unusual to them and they won’t want to connect with you when you are like that.

If you find yourself struggling to be your true self, then a great way to calm down and allow this to happen is to get more physical exercise before you take the stage. It can be as simple as taking a walk around the building or going up and down a set of stairs a few times. Use these exercises to work off some of your nervous energy and you’ll be able to settle into who you really are – you!

What All Of This Means For You

When faced with a case of stage fight, we all have the same decision to make: stand our ground or run away. If you choose to do battle with your stage fright because you know what the benefits of public speaking are, then you are going to have to go into battle prepared to win.

In order to ensure that you will emerge from this fight as the victor, you are going to have to do a couple of things. The first is that you are going to have to stop doing the pre-speech physical activities that you think that are helping you but which are really harming your ability to deliver a good speech. Next, you are going to have to start to do the things that will prepare you both physically and mentally to focus on your speech and not on your stage fright.

Stage fright is a fear that can be defeated. The trick to accomplishing this task is to win the fight before your speech starts. Follow these rules and you’ll stop doing the things that you shouldn’t be doing and you’ll start doing the things that you should be doing. That’s the way that you win a fight even before it starts!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How much before your next speech do you think that you should start to deal with your stage fright?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As speakers, we want to make our audiences laugh. The trick is to find ways to get them to use their listening skills and to make them really laugh – a wry smile just isn’t going to do it. In order to make this happen, we need to have the skills that it takes to really deliver a punch line that will generate some laughs. Let’s talk about how to make that happen.

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