The next step in speaking success and in overcoming that stage fright is connection. Are you connecting with the people in your audience? Are you connecting with the reason that you are there in the first place? This connection is vital.
Connection with the Audience
A lot of public speaking workshops get the trainee speaker to go out in front of the audience and simply stand there, not speaking but just looking out at the audience. This is called a scan, where you scan across your audience from left to right before you begin talking. Then you take a big breath and begin your workshop or your talk. There are also other strategies to help you start your speech strongly, but making this connection with yourself and how you feel and then with your audience are the first places to begin. You can also connect with your audience and boost their confidence in you by giving plenty of eye-to-eye contact.
The Right Motivation
While working on building that connection, also take time to remember why you are there in the first place. If you are there for you, then you will no doubt be a little bit afraid because your focus is on the wrong things. It is not really about you. The more you focus on that the more your fear will grow because that is a selfish focus. But if you have the motivation to help people and you focus on your audience and the valuable information you are giving them and on meeting their concerns and filling their needs, you will realize how much they need your speech and the content and inspiration you are giving them and the fear will vanish.
So switch the focus from yourself onto the people you are trying to help. Remember why you are in front of that room in the first place. If you are honestly not there to help other people, you probably should not be involved in public speaking anyway.
Tap Into Your Breathing
Now a few other helpful tips include your breathing. Do not forget to breathe. Deep breaths can calm your nerves if you are over excited. If you are paralyzed with fear, some vigorous breathing can help pump you up and motivate you with energy before you give your talk. If you are already motivated and hyped, some nice deep slow breaths will calm you down and help you to relax so you can be centered and focused for your talk.
The Gratitude Debt
Finally, an effective strategy you can practice that will help you in overcoming your stage fright is a simple little exercise called the gratitude debt. Be grateful for the opportunity to get up and speak in front of people. Consider the blessing of having found something meaningful to do. Before you go out on stage try running in place or bouncing up and down on the balls of your feet to get pumped up, and hold that belief of gratitude and thankfulness in your heart and mind for a moment; gratitude for this opportunity to influence others.
Yes, it might seem kind of silly, but in that moment you will forget the fear, the anxieties, and the thoughts of, “What if I miss my first line?” and it will focus you on why you are there in the first place.
These are simple strategies, but best of all they can be applied on the run. If you take a few moments to try them, it will eliminate a huge amount of stage fright for you. If your stage fright persists then of course other books and professional help can assist you, but do not let the fear of public speaking keep you from changing people’s lives and making a difference. It’s worth it!