How to Overcome Stage Fear

If you have fear of speaking in front of a large audience, you are certainly not alone. So many people experience this issue, and stage fear is quite a normal phenomenon and affects almost everyone to some extent. For some people, it is nothing more than anxious jitters before a performance. For others, it can be so serious that they just cannot go on the stage, let alone speak. 

How to Overcome Stage Fear

1. Handle Your Anxiety

It is natural to feel anxious before a presentation in front of a large crowd, and there is nothing wrong in it. You just have to understand how to make the anxiety work in your favor, not against you. Being anxious may actually help you be more focused and it is a good thing. Avoid resisting the anxiety and you will feel more comfortable.

2. Take Passion

Utilize the passion and emotion you have for the subject. Making your presentation more emotional will touch your audience and become more effective. Avoid holding your emotions down because this works against you. Learn to express your emotions to make an impact.

3. Practice More

The more you practice, the better. This helps you be in control of what you want to say and how. You should know your topic inside and out to improve your confidence. Anxiety is natural but it works against you when you are lacking self-confidence, and practice can help make things better. You can practice in front of your friends, family, and loved ones. Ask them to give their feedback and take their criticism constructively. These people are there to help you and really want you to succeed. Still, you should understand that humans make mistakes and that is okay. Once you understand this fact, you are less likely to feel stressed about it. This greatly reduces your stage fear.

4. Relax Your Body

Learning how to relax your body really helps learn how to overcome stage fear. It is important to ease the tension from your body before you go on to the stage. This not only helps steady your voice but also enables your mind to work more efficiently. Be sure to rehearse your lines well. Do not start to panic if you mess up on stage. Understand that your audience does not know what you are going to say or perform, so you can cover up your mistakes as if they were part of your act. Do the following things to help relax your body:

  • Gentle humming helps steady your voice, so try it.
  • Have a banana before your performance to help lower that nauseous feeling in your stomach. Avoid having too many of them.
  • Chew gum to help ease the tension in your jaw. Avoid it if you have not eaten anything else because chewing gum on an empty stomach can upset your digestive system.
  • Consider stretching your legs, arms, shoulders, and back to feel relaxed.

5. Know When to Stop Being Nervous

A little nervousness and anxiety may actually help you be more focused before your performance, but you should have a "stop time" for your nervousness and anxiety. Tell yourself that you can feel nervous or anxious to a set time and not beyond that. Just promising this to yourself helps you feel better after that time you have set.

6. Use Laughter As a Remedy

Try whatever you can to laugh before the performance. Enjoy your favorite video on YouTube or watch a comedy show first thing in the morning. You may also consider spending time with someone who is really funny. Laughing is one great way to relax your body and nerves, and this in turn helps reduce nervousness.

7. Arrive Early

How to overcome stage fear? Try to arrive early. Do not be late on your big day. You are only going to make you feel more nervous this way. Get there early and you will feel you are more in control of things. Sometimes, you feel anxious when you arrive and the room is already full with so many people. Get there early and let the room fill gradually to avoid feeling nervous.

8. Interact with the Audience

One great idea is to get early and spend some time interacting with people who have already arrived. Sometimes, chatting with the audience can actually make you feel more comfortable and even help you understand that your audience is just ordinary people like you. You will find yourself more in control and feel at ease at the same time.

Other Tips That Help Overcome Stage Fear

Here are some additional tips to help you learn how to overcome stage fear:

  • Do not let others see your shaky hands. Rest them on a podium or hold index cards instead of paper to avoid looking nervous. Whatever the case, just never touch your mouth, nose, hair, and clothes.
  • Do not be afraid to make eye contact with someone in the audience.
  • Drink some water to prevent dry mouth. Keep a glass of water by your side and have a sip whenever you feel nervous or really need to moist your throat for a better performance.
  • Use notes intelligently and highlight your important points properly. Making those words large can really help you know your next point without having to read through the lines.
  • Ease your energy and speak slowly than you normally would. You may find it a bit weird but it works for your audience and they perceive it as calm confidence. 
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