Let us imagine a situation! Palms Sweating. Hands Trembling. Legs Shaking. Dry Mouth. Shaky Voice. Rapid Heart Rate. Sudden urge to Pee….Does all this sound familiar?
Yes you are right, this is our very own, STAGE FRIGHT. Our not-so-wanted companion since always.
Stage fright or Performance Anxiety, is the fear or persistent phobia which may be aroused in an individual by the requirement to perform in front of an audience, whether actually or potentially(facing cameras).
People from all the backgrounds including musicians, actors, anchors, management officials, politicians , across the world has been suffering from this Social Disorder since ages. Those who are able to overcome it , definitely provide themselves with advantages over others.
So, today I would like to provide you with the key to this bolt. Below mentioned are some scientific ways to overcome this fear, and eventually convert this weakness into a strength.
1: Pre-Performances Tools:
A: Planning &Preparation: Often it is observed that Speakers don’t plan and learn their content well before time, which ultimately leads to disasters during the presentation. The optimal way shall be, to plan and organize all your slides/scripts/dialogues atleast a week before the presentation. Below is an example of the same:
(Creating this type of story board in characteristic way helps us to memorize the script well)
B: Read–>Learn–> Practice –>Visualise–>PERFORM
This 5-step process provides a comprehensive approach to counter the problem.
The first and the most important requirement is to read your script thoroughly. Often it may happen that during performance, due to some technical glitch, the microphone or the speakers, may stop working ,making the situation worse, so a thorough knowledge of your script will be a huge respite at that time and you may further continue in loud voice.
Learning the speech will boost your confidence levels and will help you to speak your content in flow. Seldom are any events/presentation where people don’t forget their script which increases the already hyped anxiety. So make sure that you learn your scripts exhaustively and thoroughly.
“Practice makes a man perfect”, well, yes indeed. Practice as much as you can. Practice in front of family, Practice in front of friends, Practice in front of mirror, Record yourself while practicing ( Watch it afterwards), Practice alone , Practice, Practice and Practice…
It is rightly said that, “Envisioning the end is enough to put the means in motion”. Visualization simply means rehearsing our future. Before your actual performance, you need to imagine yourself in every possible situations including the worst case scenario, with this half the task is already done. All you need now, is to personify this visualization of yours as Real Performance…and that’s it.
As they say, SHOWTIME , it is. Don’t think too much about the performance. Believe in yourself. Face the audience. Don’t try to escape from your anxiety because the more you run, the more it follows. Don’t hesitate if you forget anything, because it’s you who knows it and nobody else.
2: The PERFORMANCE Day
A: The ‘Hmmmm’ Technique
The most nerve-racking part of public speaking is always those last few minutes before heading on stage. What I do to combat those feelings? Well No worries now although it may sound awkward and funny, but this tool (The ‘Hmmmmm’ technique) is the Golden Bird for all the speakers. Fundamentally, this is a proven scientific method to eradicate all your anxiety by calming down the adrenaline levels which is the main cause of anxiety.
Just before the commencement of your presentation, all you need to do is , find a lone place, take your handkerchief and cover your nose and mouth( as if you are about to sneeze) and then shout as loud as can the sound of “ Hmmmmm” . Do it several times with full vigour until you do not feel relieved.
You may find it little lame, but believe me, try it and you’ll see the magic.
B: Beverages and Eatables :
Unless you’re normally a caffeine addict, don’t have extra caffeine on the day of the performance. You may think that it will make you perform with more energy, but it will actually make you feel more nervous and jittery. Instead opting Citrus Juice half an hour before your thing can facilitate it by decreasing the stress hormone.
A:The Placebo effect
Often, it has been observed that speakers, perceive their audience as their enemies. All those faces staring, with huge expectations only adds to our trouble. So, in this case the best remedy is to use, The PLACEBO effect. It says that, perceive (imagine) every person sitting is clone of your favourite person, your crush or brother or spouse for instance. That person loves you and hence will listen and approve to your content, they will laugh at right time, will encourage you thus making your show a big hit.
B: Knock it down
Last but not the least, this is showtime. Stop scaring yourself with thoughts about what might go wrong. Instead, focus your attention on thoughts and images that are calming and reassuring. Shift your focus and widen your perspective, perceive this as a contribution of a value to your audience. Give up trying to be perfect and know that it is OK to make mistakes. Be natural, be yourself. All the best.
Congratulation! That was an enthralling performance. Can we have a huge round of applause for our speaker.
By: Jeetendra Ajmera