Conquer Your Fear of Stage Fright and Boost Your Self-Confidence

It’s happened to the best of us at some point in our lives.

Hands start shaking, palms are sweaty, your mouth is getting dry and then the curtain opens. Maybe not a physical curtain, but we’ve all had those nervous feelings of stage fright right before a big performance, onstage or before a big presentation for work or school.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, public speaking ranks as the biggest fear for American adults. The most common reason people dread public speaking is a fear of not being accepted by the audience. As a result, many ‘what-if’ thoughts come to mind: What if I mess up? What if I fall? What if they all laugh at me? The list could go on and on.

Dealing with stage fright can improve your self-confidence and even boost your career. Before your next big presentation or performance try these tips:

  • Don’t psych yourself out. Do your best to not focus on what could go wrong but instead take a few deep breaths focusing on calming thoughts and what could go right.
  • Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. You made it to this point for a reason.
  • Practice your presentation. Once you think you have it down, run through it two more times.
  • Eat healthy, avoiding greasy foods right before a big speech.
  • Try recording your presentation, allowing you to experience what the audience will see and hear. Watch and listen to yourself to find out where you want or need to improve certain parts of the presentation.
  • Throw away the idea that it will be perfect. Everyone is going to make mistakes here or there, which will mostly go unnoticed by the audience. Just be yourself.

Being able to overcome your stage fright will give your self-confidence a boost, which will then have a positive effect on other aspects of your life. You may not become a star presenter overnight, however there are some ways to become more comfortable speaking in front of crowds.

  • Get involved with your local Toastmasters program.
  • Join a local improv group, which can help get you out of your comfort zone and improve your ability to think on your feet.
  • Take an acting or speech class.
  • Volunteer to be the presenter for your next big project at work or school.
  • For all the writers, participate in a poetry slam.

The more you speak in front of a crowd, the more comfortable you will become with it. How do you deal with stage fright? Let us know in the comments.

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Photo credit: Andrew E. Larsen via Flickr

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