Once you have prepared your content and your notes, and are clear on the compelling reason for people to come and listen and learn from you, you are ready for the second key: overcoming stage fright.
Stage fright can be defined as the fear of making a fool of yourself while public speaking and is the number one fear that people have. It ranks higher than death. So how can you overcome this fear?
Firstly, you can overcome stage fright through confidence; more particularly, being confident in your topic. One way to help boost your confidence (as discussed in Key One) is to prepare some notes which you can refer to as you talk.
The second way to boost your confidence is through a lot of practice. You can never practice too much. When you think you have practiced enough, practice some more. Test out your presentation on family members and friends. If they are unwilling to be test subjects, set up the camera so you can view yourself and make improvements. The more you do something, the better you get at it and this applies just as much to public speaking.
Do you remember the very first time you got on a bike? You likely fell right off or the bike fell over. But a month or so later you could probably ride down the stretch of grass on the sidewalk before falling off or crashing. As an adult, you can now probably ride a bike without even thinking about it. No doubt, you can even ride wherever you choose, through different terrains, along roads or up mountains without a second thought.
The reason you can ride so well now as an adult is because you practiced. If you do anything often enough, you will become skilled at it. With that increased ability you gain expertise, and along with that expertise, you gain confidence. This confidence comes across in your presentation. It comes across as energy, conviction, and a true belief in your ability to help change people’s lives and increase your own bottom line.
Connect with your Audience
A second way to overcome stage fright is to connect with your audience. In a sense, you need to get out of your own head and into the head of the people listening to your message. Why are you there in the first place? In order to communicate more effectively with your audience, you need to make a connection with them. This connection can be simple. Take a few moments to stand and make some eye contact with people in the room before you begin to talk. If it is a large audience, you can slowly scan across the room, from front to back, or left to right to simply let everybody know that, “Hey, I see you. I know you are there and I am here to share something with you. Thank you for being here to listen to me.”
Why Are You There?
A third tip in overcoming stage fright is to center on why you are there. Why are you in the room in the first place? Stage fright is usually the result of worrying too much about yourself, about how will you look, and what people will think of you. So the best way to overcome that is to shift your focus to be about what they are going to learn from you. Rather worry about what will happen if they don’t hear your message, because you have something powerful to share that they need to hear.
If you have a great message to share, in a way it’s your duty to share that message with others. If they have made the effort to show up, they need to hear what you have to say. They want to be there or they would not have come. Focus on your audience and on their needs and desires, and your anxieties about your stage fright will disappear.