The question I am asked most often has to do with fear management; What do I suggest for “stage fright”. Whether you are speaking to a live audience or into a camera, the same trepidation may surface.
For each person, the source may be different, so a blanket answer is not a guaranteed benefit to anyone. There are a few ideas though, that I have discovered can help to ease anxiety in most people.
- Fear is good. It shows that you care about what you are doing! Realize that the twisted feeling in your stomach and shaking knees are signs of a very primitive part of your design, stemming all the way back to the “flight or fight” reactions of our ancient ancestors. The original purpose was for good; to save us from harm. What I suggest is to recognize that part of you that is the fear (even name it), then thank it for being there, but you are fine and it may take a back seat now, thank you!
- Next, take your focus OUT, not in. It’s about them, not you. If you know your message and your purpose, then you know exactly what you need to accomplish for your audience and set to it! Know that you are there to solve a major problem for them. No matter if they are right in front of you, or on the other end of your broadcast. Realize, that if your thoughts are with them and what you bring to that audience, your thought s cannot be in your head, fighting with your fears. It is impossible.
- Recognize that even the pros and superstars have a bit of that butterfly in the tummy reaction.
“A little bit of stage fright. Then I’m ready.” — Faith Hill
It’s not abnormal. It need not be paralyzing. It is not indicative at all of your abilities. In fact, the energy created from a bit of pre-show jitters can actually work for you.
Burn off a bit of that excessive energy by doing something with your body…jumping jacks, push ups or whatever! Think of how clear-headed you are after a good workout, right? Energized and relaxed at the same time… that is the perfect state to be in when you are presenting, right? So don’t let anyone’s surprised reaction stop you from running in place like a madman for 20 seconds… you’re going for the gold out there!
If you have stage fright, it never goes away. But then I wonder: is the key to that magical performance because of the fear?