Stage fright and fear of public speaking can cripple your career. It's almost impossible to be successful in any business without having to speak to a large group of people at some point in time. This can be an excruciating experience if you suffer from fear of public speaking. In a recent Gallup poll shows that 40% of adults have stage fright and the fear of public speaking.
Performance anxiety or stage fright is a crippling fear that is a public speakers' equivalent to writers' block. No matter how much preparation time or how well you know your material, the stress of recalling the next line of your speech and the jitters caused by being on stage can be a powerful combination. Add the fact that one single mistake can cause inestimable damage to your presentation and you have a recipe for debilitating stage fright.
Almost every speaker has suffered from stage fright at some point in their career. Fear of public speaking shows itself in many situations and through all walks of life. It ranges from mere nervousness if you have to speak to more than a couple of people at work or to full blown panic attacks at the thought of speaking in any public situation. If you are the person who dreads the moment in a meeting when someone turns to you and says "what do you think?", or you worry that soon it will be your turn to introduce yourself, or even if you virtually pass out at the thought of any public speaking, you CAN be helped. There are some very basic strategies that will help you overcome your stage fright and your fear of public speaking.
Put yourself in control of everything within your sphere of influence. Check out your physical space and insure any hand-outs and presentation materials are
available for distribution. If you are going to be using an overhead or power point system make sure they work (and are plugged in). Avoid being rushed or distracted on the day of your presentation.
Practice your relaxation skills before you go up to the podium. Take an imaginary journey through your speech from beginning to end, soothing your mind during the quiet time before your entry. Use deep breathing to calm your body and your mind. The difference between someone suffering from stage fright and fear of public speaking with someone who feels calm and capable is that the former frets about it in advance and the latter doesn't. So don't fret, practice your relaxation skills and stay calm.
You may be surprised at how much you enjoy it.
Faye B. Roberts is an independent researcher helping people become effective public speakers. For further information on making yourself an effective public speaker visit
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