Do butterflies attack your stomach each time you’re about to speak? Tired of standing on stage, gripped by fear and paralyzed by nervousness? How would you like to be able to go through the entire presentation, or speak before a crowd with fear firmly at the back of your mind?
Here, are some tips and strategies which you can employ to calm yourself when on stage or speaking in public.
- Practice your part. Practice in front of family, friends, and relatives and even in front of empty chairs. So that you are used to performing in front of people. Practice your speech or presentation and revise it until you can present it with ease.
- Know the room – become familiar with the place in which you will speak. Arrive early and walk around the room including the speaking area. Stand at the lectern, speak into the microphone. Walk around where the audience will be seated. Walk from where you will be seated to the place where you will be speaking.
- Know the Audience – If possible, greet some of the audience as they arrive and chat with them. It is easier to speak to a group of friends than to a group of strangers.
- Learn How to Relax – You can ease tension by doing exercises. Sit comfortable with your back straight. Breathe in slowly, hold your breath for 4 to 5 seconds, then slowly exhale. To relax your facial muscles, open your mouth and eyes wide, then close them tightly.
- Visualize Yourself Speaking – Imagine yourself walking confidently to the lectern as the audience applauds. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and assured. When you visualize yourself as successful, you will be successful.
- Realize People Want You To Succeed – All audiences want speakers to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They want you to succeed – not fail.
- Don’t apologize For Being Nervous – Most of the time your nervousness does not show at all. If you don’t say anything about it, nobody will notice. If you mention your nervousness or apologize for any problems you think you have with your speech, you’ll only be calling attention to it. Had you remained silent, your listeners may not have noticed at all.
- Concentrate on Your Message – not the medium – Your nervous feelings will dissipate if you focus your attention away from your anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience, not yourself.
- Turn Nervousness into Positive Energy – the same nervous energy that causes stage fright can be an asset to you. Harness it, and transform it into vitality and enthusiasm.
- Gain Experience – Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. Most beginning speakers find their anxieties decrease after each speech they give.