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Self-Help: Getting Over Stage Fright

Speaking in public can be really scary for some people. While we all get a little nervous or anxious, for some, it can be down right horrifying. It's a kind of Performance Anxiety and these feelings have a lot to do with low self-confidence and possibly a past failure or bad experience. People with this type of performance anxiety get worried that they are going to make a mistake or be negatively viewed by others. These fears can be debilitating, causing them to avoid any situations that involves them being viewed by others or being the center or attention.

Symptoms can include:

  • Feeling uncomfortable or uneasy
  • Feeling frightened or experiencing a panic attack
  • Increased heart rate
  • Problems breathing
  • Shaky hands or voice
  • Feeling overheated or sweating
  • Butterflies in your stomach, nausea or vomiting

Want to hear ways you can get over this fear? Then

  • Be prepared as much as possible. Try to practice your performance or speech in front of a friend or group of friends beforehand - they can offer ways to help you improve your speech and make it clearer or more interesting if need be. Also practice using any equipment you may need. If you can, practice your performance on the stage or in the room you'll actually be in so you can build your confidence before show time.
  • When you do perform, wear layers so if you get hot or sweaty, you can casually take your sweater or jacket off so you don't schvitz all over the place.
  • If your hands shake, hold something solid like a pen or clip board, or hold your hands behind your back.
  • When you look out into the audience, look at people's foreheads instead of making direct eye contact. Locking eyes could make you nervous or forget your train of thought.
  • Do something that will make you feel confident about yourself and have a positive self image. Get a new outfit or get your hair or make-up done. Knowing you look good will make you feel good. When your self-esteem is high, you'll feel strong and less fearful.
  • Don't be so uptight. So what if you make a mistake? The world isn't going to end. Everyone messes up in front of other people, so just laugh at yourself and move on.

I hope these tips help so when your friend asks you to give a speech at her wedding, you'll feel honored instead of panic-stricken.


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