If you dread the thought of getting up in front of a group of people and performing, you are not alone. Millions of people suffer from performance anxiety, commonly called “stage fright.”
In fact, most people would rather get the flu than perform. Athletes, musicians, actors, and public speakers often get performance anxiety.
Performance anxiety can prevent you from doing what you enjoy and can affect your career. Worst of all, performance anxiety can negatively affect your self-esteem and self-confidence.
Although it may be impossible to totally overcome performance anxiety, there are many things you can do to control your emotions and reduce anxiety, such as:
1. Relax your mind and body.
Eat your favorite food, stretch a few muscles, take deep breaths, listen to your favorite songs, talk to your best friend or even try winking at random people. In short, do anything which will entertain you and take your mind off the unnecessary anxiety. See, the point to remember is that being a little anxious is all right, even good. But try keeping this below a threshold.
2. Practice, Practice and Practice.
Practice in front of your family, friends, in front of a mirror and even in empty auditoriums, so that you get used to the idea of performing in front of of your audience. Practice till you almost memorize it.
This will give you confidence and also give you scope to find out and correct the flaws in your own performance. If it’s a speech, presentation or debate, just understand the concept you are going to explain thoroughly(so that you are able to answer any questions from the audience), or if it’s a play or drama, get into the character (so that you forget your own fears and worries).
3. Connect to your audience
Don’t be scared and tell people that you are worried and have an absolute fear of stage. This will do nothing but lower your self-confidence. Instead, start focusing on the needs and expectations of your audience. You will be motivated when you realize that you will actually be able to reach out to your audience.
You will feel like burning or disappearing from the stage if you start thinking that you being there makes no difference whatsoever. So, focus your attention on the people who are going to listen to you.
4. Accept your fears
Do not try to suppress the feeling that you are worried about going on stage. Just accept it, deal with it, hold your head high, do not fiddle with microphone or your notes and cool down. Be confident that it’s only for a few minutes and then you are going to give the performance of your life time. Give it your best shot. Visualize your triumphant outcome. Nothing can go wrong. Even if it does, just smile and move on.
5. Lead a healthy lifestyle
Eat fruits everyday and exercise properly. Try participating in group discussions. Talk to people at work and gym instead of creating a shell around you. Do yoga and meditation regularly. Go out with friends on trips. Start a hobby. Doing all these will improve your self-esteem and hopefully, you will never get a stage fright. If possible, avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar totally. They will simply make you more nervous.
6. It is Not All About You
Though you might feel like everyone is out to laugh, criticize or judge you, that is not the case. Get over the feeling that the world is going to hang on your every mistake. Focus on your speech, audience and what they deserve from you. This will ease the pressure that is already accumulating.
7. Keep Calm, Don’t Rush It
Don’t rush your presentation. Start slow and allow yourself time to get into a comfortable pace. You need time to get used to the audience and the audience also needs time to get used to you.