How to Instantly Overcome Stage-Fright
Quickly turn your nerves into excitement.
We coach a lot of public speakers in training, public speakers who are experts, and public speakers who don’t even know if they believe they can be a public speaker… And what’s a similarity we see amongst them? They’re all nervous about completely bombing their talk.
Whether they’re seasoned pros or haven’t even stepped on a stage before, it’s more often than not we see these people already doubting their outcome before they even get a chance to create it.
When we hear these irrational fears and nerves come creeping in right off the bat, our first response is to ask: “What are you scared of?” “What’s going to happen?” “What’s the worst case scenario?”
We’re sure you can guess the answers already: “I might forget what I’m going to say!” “The audience might laugh at me.” “What if nobody claps?” “They might not even like me.”
Negative, negative, negative.
Those fears are certainly common… But should they become reality, would it mean the end of the world? Let’s say nobody claps… Will you die? We’re pretty sure in the history of the world nobody has died from not receiving a round of applause. Probably not, right?
But be realistic, what’s really the worst thing that could actually happen from public speaking? Maybe you could fall off the stage… But that pretty much never happens! And with virtual presentations being so common, now it’s barely even a risk.
So, instead of being so scared of the possible negative outcomes that could result from your talk, why not put your energy toward visualizing your ideal outcome? This is what we recommend to any and all levels of our speakers.
Why not put your energy toward visualizing your ideal outcome?
As humans, we have this incredible biochemical computer in our head…also known as our brain! Our brain creates the entire reality that we see around us. It creates the way we feel about things, the way we react to things, and so much more. The incredible thing is that by picturing things turning out a certain way we can actually influence how we feel about an event, even before it happens!
There are many reasons why you might go into a talk feeling nervous. More often than not, it’s because of a previous experience that has left you feeling less than confident when it comes to speaking in front of others (flashbacks to reading aloud in elementary school, anyone?).
Think about what happens to your body when you’re nervous. Your breath gets shallow, your heart starts to beat faster, your pulse quickens, your palms get sweaty, maybe you even get butterflies in your stomach. That’s what nervousness feels like, right?
Now think about another emotion that feels strikingly similar. What other emotion might give you those butterflies? Or get your heart beating faster? And your breathing slower? Excitement!
Physiologically, nervousness and excitement are exactly the same; they feel exactly the same. The only difference is what is running through our brain when we feel it.
Physiologically, nervousness and excitement are exactly the same.
When you go to give a talk, it is incredibly important that you visualize it going the way you want it to go. Not the way you think it might go because you’re nervous. Visualize the audience warmly receiving the information you’re sharing, visualize them being incredibly entertained, visualize them standing up at the end and giving you a massive standing ovation! Whatever perfect means to you, envision your talk going perfectly.
Be aware of how your brain is receiving the situation and program it to understand the nervousness you think you’re feeling before you go on stage is actually just excitement. Sure, your heart’s beating fast and you’re breathing shallow and your stomach has butterflies, but make sure your brain knows it’s because you’re thrilled to be there.
You have control over whether your nervousness is actually manifested as nervousness or excitement, and it all comes down to how you visualize the outcome of your talk.
This is perhaps one of the most important skills to being able to confidently take the stage. If you’re on the path to becoming a great speaker, the next time you start to feel those nerves bubble up inside of you, stop everything you’re doing and check in with how you’re visualizing the outcome. This practice will tell your brain whether it’s nervousness or excitement that’s buzzing through you, and it will allow you the opportunity to tap into your confidence and create genuine empowerment, pushing those pesky nerves aside.
The next time you start to feel those nerves bubble up inside of you, stop everything you’re doing and check in with how you’re visualizing the outcome.
Now, despite knowing all this, many people still deal with serious stage fright or presentation anxiety, so to help with that we have something for you!