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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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Join The Conversation
JustMe21 JustMe21 8 years
I've been singing in front of people since I was little and I STILL get really, really nervous!
Kazagirl Kazagirl 8 years
Uaaa I have an extreme case of stage frights. When I do have to speak in public I cannot physically be holding anything in my hands because they shake so bad. I also have a really hard time looking at people so I end up staring at the ground. I am starting my junior year of college on Thursday and I know for a fact that I have to give a bunch of presentations this semester. I am so terrified that if I even think about speaking in public I will have a panic attack. I just don't know what to do about my problem anymore.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
i'm not sure this is something you can "get over". look at the famous people who have had to leave show business because of it. i have never minded speaking in public, in fact i really like it, but performing is totally different. when i was growing up i was an ice skater and i would sometimes throw up before a competition. my parents tried several things to help be get over it but i never did.in class maybe try and remember that most of the kids are either not paying attention or are thinking how glad they are that it's someone elses turn.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
i'm not sure this is something you can "get over". look at the famous people who have had to leave show business because of it. i have never minded speaking in public, in fact i really like it, but performing is totally different. when i was growing up i was an ice skater and i would sometimes throw up before a competition. my parents tried several things to help be get over it but i never did. in class maybe try and remember that most of the kids are either not paying attention or are thinking how glad they are that it's someone elses turn.
diorbaby diorbaby 8 years
Not the greatest tips-it doesn't get rid of the symptoms-just hides them!
KristinDaBomb KristinDaBomb 8 years
^Me too. I am going on my senior year of HS and I STILL can't fave public speaking. I literally have all of those symptoms.
malpal25 malpal25 8 years
I'm horrible when it comes to public speaking. I get really shaky and I can't concentrate. I'm deffinatley keeping those tips in mind.
jhuck jhuck 8 years
I used to be terrible when making presentations in class. Thank goodness I don't have to do it anymore. I would get really hot, I would forget everything I had to say, and my voice would be similar to that of a 13 year old boy reaching puberty. No matter how much everyone tried to help me, I couldn't ever fix it. I could even be totally comfortable with everyone in the room, and still freak out when it was time to do it.
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