The fear of stage can erect barriers between you and the goal you eye to achieve. People have conquered the fear that is pushing you away from your goal. Admittedly, some people are born with great finesse. They are able to face the audience and convey their message in the most engaging manner.
However, there are some great leaders who were born with stage fright. Now we read their success stories. Some of these leaders have changed the course of history. Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Sir Isaac Newton and there are many more names that can be added to the list.
The American Founding Father and the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson was born with the fear of speaking in public but he conquered the fear. Warren Buffett subjugated this fear. They all did it. You can also do. And, it is not difficult.
I use some simple tricks that make me a confident visual communicator. These tricks can endow you with the courage required to be bold and confident in public.
The Knowledge-Confidence Relationship
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Here, I am using the word ‘knowledge’ to refer the information, idea or thoughts you want to share. You need to have something to speak. You can never be a good communicator if you are not prepared with the knowledge you want to share. However, if you are prepared and you know that you are well prepared, your confidence will be multiplied. And, if you are confident that you know what to say, you will say it like a champion.
Practice, But How Many Times?
If you have read some other blog for some tips to overcome your stage fright, you might have read something like “practice, practice, and practice”. They are not wrong. This is their experience. I do not agree with this “Practice, practice and practice”. This is my experience. Practice is important. However, preparation is more important. You can find many real life examples. If you keep on doing the same thing again and again, it will be boring. You will not enjoy it. Your audience will not enjoy it. Therefore, practice only a few times. More is not better in this case.
What to Eat?
It matters, it matters a lot. Just as the fuel matters for your Harley. What you eat can be good or bad for you. Don’t eat anything that makes your throat dry, sore and scratchy. Drink water. It will keep you hydrated. Eat protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber rich foods as these are great sources are energy. The audience will find you boring if you terribly lack energy. However, strictly say no to caffeine, alcohol, grease fast food and do not eat too much. There should be a 60-minute gap between your meal and your performance.
“Remember, any food that is good for health is a good pre-show food.”
Take Refuge behind a Lecture Stand
What happened last time when you were on the stage? Did your legs start to shake? In that case, you can take refuge behind a lecture stand. However, a lecture stand cannot be your savior on every concession. What if there is no lecture stand? Perhaps the person who made the very first lecture stand was looking for a hideout to hide his shaking legs. When you are communicating directly with the audience, what is the purpose of the lecture standing between you and your audience?
Don’t Stand Still
When there is no lecture stand to rescue you, don’t stand still. Cover some area of the stage with a couple of strides with the size of the stage in your mind. There will be no need of a hideout to hide your shivering legs due to stage fright. Try it, this time your legs will not start to shake.
Keep Your Hands Busy
Just like legs, hands also start to shiver when there is an audience carefully listening to you. Now, how to keep your hands busy? If there is a microphone on the stage, simply take the microphone stand out of the sight of the audience. The microphone will keep one of your hands busy. Your busy hand will not tremble like a leaf. You can use the second hand to gesture and make the conversation more engaging.
When you are there, standing alone, whatever is there on the stage, you can use it. You can use the lecture stand to stop people from reading a part of your body language. You can use the microphone to keep one hand busy. Don’t stand still, understand the knowledge-confidence relationship, eat right, prepare well and don’t practice for too many times.
Best of luck!