Don't Let Stage Fright Make You A Bad Speaker


 Don't Let Stage Fright Make You A Bad Speaker

Speakers are a valuable part of our lives and we owe it to them to provide the best possible experience. Yet all too often, speakers are faced with an audience who wants nothing more than for them to end their speech. Nobody wants to be in that position, but it's not too late! We can help keep you from becoming one of those speakers by providing some tips on how you can prepare and present yourself.

In this post we will go over:

- What is stage fright? Why does it happen at all?      - Knowing the signs of stage fright and what they mean. - Understanding some causes of stage fright - Ways in which you can manage your anxiety before giving the speech. - How to ensure you won't crack under pressure.
This is part of our series on 'How to become a better speaker'. If you have any other tips or questions, do leave them down in the comments section below.
To begin, we will look at what stage fright is and why speakers can experience it.
What is Stage Fright?
Stage fright (sometimes called panic attacks) refers to a sudden and involuntary feeling of intense anxiety before giving a speech, performance or presentation. It can range from mild feelings of nervousness to intense terror and distress. Even though actors experience stage fright, this does not completely explain your situation. This post will only focus on how to overcome stage fright for public speaking .
Stage fright is the result of a state of mind where a person has an over-exaggerated fear or sensation about something which is not objectively dangerous. The fear exists even though there is no real threat or danger.
The immediate result of this fear can be physical and psychological responses including nervousness, nausea, palpitation, breathing problems, shaking etc.  This fear may only last for a few moments until the commencement of speech-giving or performance and can recur repeatedly during an event.
Some people do not get over their stage fright even after the event has finished. They may find themselves unable to perform everyday tasks such as going to the toilet, driving a car or speaking in a meeting. At this point, they may begin to think about the event which triggered their nervousness or stage fright and feel even more anxious than before.
It could be argued that dressing in a certain way (such as wearing lots of black and wearing accessories such as rings or bracelets with meaning) can also trigger stage fright because we are making strong associations not just about performance but about our own identity.
Stage Fright is common in Performance Arts such as Acting, Dance and Singing . It is more common in public speaking than other activities. Stage fright can be influenced by the following:
1. Meaning of the event
2. Realization of the personal and social repercussions (Note: These can also produce other emotions such as embarrassment, anger or shame).
3. The person's level of anxiety for giving a speech or performance.
4. Presenting oneself to others in front of an audience or being observed by an audience at a time when you are particularly nervous about a speech or performance (such as on stage, on television etc) - It is possible to use stage fright as a mechanism through which an individual seeks attention from others  ( eg: "Help! I'm going to blow up!").
Stage fright is the ultimate sign of communication failure. You are telling your audience that they can say anything they like and they will not be heard. Your message will be drowned out by their own terror as they run away from you or scream at you to shut up!
What Causes Stage Fright?
There are two main causes of stage fright: Nervousness and Fear of Failure.
Nervousness is one of the main causes because it often occurs prior to seeing someone who we might be nervous in front of. Our nervousness is rooted in fear of the unknown. We do not know how we will perform and therefore we fear it may go badly and embarrass us, causing others to ridicule us or reject us etc ... "If I screw up, then they will never like me. What if they think that I'm not capable of doing anything?"
Fear of failure is also a major cause because it can lead to elevated anxiety, panic attacks, high levels of stress and bodily arousal etc ... "What if I embarrass myself? What if they think I'm a loser or an idiot? What if I get rejected by others?"
Combining these two fears will create the most intense form of fear - "Fear of Nervousness" and "Fear of Failure". In this case you are afraid that you may not be able to perform well enough in order to avoid embarrassment from others. This can be caused by many factors including:
1. Poor Self-Image.
2. Stigmatization by Society.
3. The desire to be accepted and liked by others (for example, speakers who want to be perceived as highly knowledgeable, serious and authoritative).
The fear itself can be caused by:
1. Conscious fear - What will people think of me? What if I say something embarrassing? Everyone will think that I'm a loser and walk out! Or subconscious fear - If I fail, then it means that it's because I'm not capable of doing anything properly in general ... I'm a loser, so I am not going to be able to become successful and achieve my goals!
2. Self-consciousness.
3. Fear of Embarrassment.
4. Fear of Rejection from peers or not being accepted by others .
The fear can also be caused by other factors:
1. The anxiety of performing in front of important people, colleagues or superiors for whom we have a high degree of respect and admiration - This is particularly true for youth who have had relatively little success in their field so far, leading to feelings of inadequacy and disconnection from others as they approach an important milestone in their career.
2. The anxiety of presenting something which we believe should be perfect, such as the first draft of a speech or presentation, so that we do not receive criticism and rebukes about it.
3. The fear of failure for achieving continual success in the future - For example, the fear associated with giving a speech after many successful speeches beforehand is often related to fear of failure for future speeches.
4. Self-sabotage . Have you ever noticed that a few days before giving a speech, you suddenly become ill and have to cancel? Usually it's because you feel that if you cancel and give yourself an excuse then you will have time to overcome your nervousness before speaking again later on. If you give yourself a holiday, then you will be more likely to start work again and again.
5. Fear of failure for achieving continuous success in the future - For example, the fear associated with giving a speech after many successful speeches beforehand is often related to fear of failure for future speeches.
The Fear of Stage Fright can be Stopped By Remedy
Stage fright can be avoided not just by learning how to overcome stage fright but by making it a habit rather than an issue. We know this because many people who have overcome stage fright report that they developed effective techniques that helped them deal with their fears .

Stage fright is a very common occurrence in society. It is the ultimate sign of communication failure. In order to put an end to the fear of stage fright, we must learn how to deal with it. By preventing ourselves from succumbing to the fear and fearing it, we will experience more success in our lives and will be able to perform better all round. We can only achieve this by learning how to overcome stage fright through positive self-perspective, confidence and effective public speaking skills.

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