Most of us feel nervous when preparing to speak in front of an audience, but those people who are instantly in panic mode with just the thought of being in such a situation are experiencing something we often call "stage fright." Some are suffering in silence when they're about to go on stage which takes a tremendous toll on their self-confidence and leads them to pass up a lot of opportunities.
As someone who graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Multimedia Arts, you would expect that I'm already a master of being in the spotlight. But I'm scared of being the center of attention, which is why I said "no" to a lot of opportunities to speak in front of an audience when I was in college. When I'm required to do it, I practice and stutter when I'm there. So when I had the chance to pass on it, unfortunately, I always do.
But I want to learn to love speaking in public, so when I got invited by my former professor to give a lecture to three of his New Media classes at Malayan Colleges Laguna, I said yes right away. Luckily, I did it so well that my professor invited me to give a workshop next year! If you're struggling like me and want to be able to overcome it as I did, here are five tips to keep in mind to be your most confident self!
1. Practice what you're about to do onstage.
I knew it's going to be difficult for me to do an impromptu presentation even though I'm very much knowledgeable about the topic that my former professor gave me to discuss. So before I did my lecture, I listed everything I wanted to tell them and practiced every night three days prior. Knowing your content inside out builds confidence because you won't have to worry about forgetting or stumbling over your words.
2. Do something that can relax your body.
Before going inside the classroom, I made sure to do a few simple things to ease my tension. From having a quick laugh with my friends who went there to support me to chewing gum to relax my jaw, releasing the tight feeling in my body helped me feel more at ease to stand in front of an audience. Perhaps you can also try stretching, shaking your limbs, or simply taking deep breaths!
3. Move around.
As much as it's necessary to keep my posture to make me look confident in front of other people, I knew that it's also required to move around with energy for emphasis. When you walk around, you're releasing adrenaline into your body which alleviates the pressure. If you're going to speak in a classroom like what I did, which is a small area to walk around, I advise you to just move your hands like you're storytelling (but not fidgeting!)
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4. Talk to the audience.
One of the most fundamental things in having a successful presentation is creating a great atmosphere among your audience. But it's hard when you have stage fright, and all you want to do is run backstage and stay there which is what I'm almost did! Instead of running away, I just imagined that my audience is composed of my friends so I would feel more comfortable in interacting with them. Chatting with them also made me realize that they're ordinary people like me!
5. Keep on doing it until you don't fear it anymore.
If you want to get rid of your stage fright, you should actively practice being in front of an audience until you get used to it. One of the reasons why I was able to get through ny recent lecture successfully was because I've done it before already. Every time I'm asked to talk in front of other people, I always think of backing out, but I remind myself to walk with my head high, give a big smile, and say yes. I know that the more I do it, the more I'll feel confident in doing it next time!
It's a common thing for everyone to feel nervous and shaky at the thought of standing in front of an audience, even the most confident speakers or performers are suffering from stage fright. But know that once you're able to relax your mind and body and move out of your comfort zone, you're one big step closer to overcoming your stage fright!
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