Fear Busters – 10 Tips to Overcome Stage Fright!


Do butterflies attack your stomach each time you’re about to speak? Tired of standing on stage, gripped by fear and paralysed by nervousness?

How would you like to be able to go through the entire presentation, or speak before a crowd with fear firmly at the back of your mind?

In this very first edition, I’m going to share with everyone some tips and strategies which I employ to calm those frayed and frazzled nerves.

The following are 10 tips to help you overcome stage fright.

Enjoy!
***
F - Focus on your most powerful Experience

Think about the your most memorable and powerful experience. Was it the day your wife agreed to marry you? The day your kid told the world that you were the best mom/dad in the whole wide world? The day your partner agreed to go out with you?

Or how about the day you pulled off that great project – a project that few believed you could pull off?

Relive your most powerful experience and feel the confidence and power flow through your veins again.

Speak with this power in your heart.

E - Energize Yourself

You’ve adrenaline pumping through your veins. Your heart is racing and your muscles are all tensed up. Your eyes are shifty and you are unsettled. You are ready to bolt for the door… or are you?

An adrenaline rush is a built-in defence mechanism for human beings. It is a natural response mechanism that allows us to fight or take flight in the event of danger. That explains the heightened sensitivity we have when we are nervous and excited.

My suggestion for handling this adrenaline rush anxiety involves harnessing this nervous energy and make it work for you! You see, many people tend to suppress this nervous energy and bolt themselves to the ground instead of running away. This suppression causes them to shake and tremble because they are consciously fighting against their subconscious tendency to run away!

So, how can we harness this nervous energy for the benefit of our presentations?

MOVE AROUND! Is there really a need to bolt yourself to the ground? I’ve found that walking around the room and gentle gesticulating from time to time allows me to dissipate my nervous energy.

A - Acknowledge Your Fears

I’ve said this once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Fear is here to protect us, not paralyse us. Don’t run away from being afraid! Acknowledge it as being part of you… use it to identify the possible pitfalls, then work to plug those loopholes that may most likely (you can’t plug all… can you?) go wrong during your presentation.

Being prepared and the knowledge that you’ve covered most angles will prepare you and leave you assured that things will go to plan. And if they don’t, then at least you’re all ready to execute Plan B anyway!

R - Relax… BREATHE!

Take deep breathes and Regulate your breathing! Let the breathing regulate and calm your heart rate!

B - Believe in Your Value!

You’ve got to believe in the value of your message!

Know that your presentation has the potential to change lives! Your words are powerful and can impact lives in more ways than one!

This best works together with Point T below.

U - Understand the Audience

Understand that the audience are here to hear you succeed! They’re here for value and they want you to succeed! They’re not here to sabotage you, or poke fun at you… they’re here to listen to you speak!

You have something they want! You are the god for the moment. Their leader and source of information… and only you can satisfy them. You can make them laugh and fulfil their deepest desires…

YOU ARE POWERFUL!

S - Smile!

Studies have proven that changing one’s physiology will have a pronounced impact on one’s mental state.

These means that, if you slouch and look down and drag your feet most of the time, chances are you’ll be feeling depressed and low most of the time.

Conversely, if you were to quicken your pace, dig in your heels and run around (like your two year old nephew/niece), chances are you’ll be feeling on top of the world!

Smile and pretend that you’re enjoying yourself. Soon enough, your body will tell your brain that you’re happy… and before you know it, fear will be drowning at the back of your head by Little Miss Sunshine! =)

T - Talk to Yourself

Many people will begin telling themselves how they can’t do it and various reasons why they will not be able to speak properly.

Counter that.

Tell yourself that you will be able to do a good job and let yourself in on the reasons why you can.

One of the best ways you can find reasons of why you can succeed is by asking yourself questions like:

“What do I know that they don’t?”
“Have the audience got my experience?”
“What can I offer these people that my competitors can’t?”

Know your niche and build it up. Then share it. You’ll be amazed how many people will pay to learn from you those specialised skills, knowledge and experience which you’ve built up over time!

E - Enjoy Yourself!

Get out on the stage and seek to have fun! Let your hair down and allow your mischievous side to rule for awhile! This will be a great strength if you’re preparing yourself to take up the role as Emcee for a Dinner and Dance event.

R - Rejoice!

Many people begin visualising their worst case scenario as they ready themselves to speak.

Well, I’m ready to counter that!

I want you to visualise yourself victorious at the end of the presentation. Think of the amount of gratitude your audience will have for you sharing such important information with them! Think about the smiles and laughter which you would have created?

Hey, if Mr Negativity can get you to think about the worst case scenario, then I will implore you to summon Mr Positivity to provide you with images of encouragement!

Granted it, the outcome may not resemble 100% as depicted by both Mr N and Mr P, but if you’re going to think about these things anyway, I’d suggest you think about something that EMPOWERS YOU, not Paralyses you!

***

Well, there you have it! My first edition of 10 tips to help you overcome the fear of public speaking!

Try it out and let me know how well they work for you!

Live with passion!

Speak with life!

Related Post:

The Biggest Lesson You’ll Ever Learn About Stage Fright to Become A Better Speaker

Download the Complimentary Article on Winning With Fear to Speak with Confidence!

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76 responses to “Fear Busters – 10 Tips to Overcome Stage Fright!

  1. As a confidence coach and speaking coach, I come across a lot of 10 tip articles about breaking free of stage fright, but I must say, I really appreciate this one. Your suggestions are right on.

    The only thing I would add is that when you’re really nervous or downright scared of speaking in public (or performing) it’s usually centered in the fear of what people will think of you. The fear of being judged as less than fabulous.

    Just remember that what people think of you is none of your business. You can’t really even know what someone is thinking, and even if you did, you can’t change what they are thinking, so let go of caring about what others may think. Instead, focus on your message, what you want to experience while speaking and appreciate the attention of your audience.

  2. Hi Gary!! =) your Fearbuster tips are super cool! :) Yea, i think every point makes sense too. haha, thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for the article! I’ve had problems with stage fright myself so it’s good to read other perspectives on this.
    I still get nervous any time I have to perform in front of others, but I find the best things to do are to be totally prepared, accept that a mistake doesn’t mean the whole thing is a disaster and get your breathing under control.
    For anyone interested, another website that has articles and help for stage fright is http://www.stagefrighthelp.com

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  6. Here’s a personal story that will give comfort to anyone who experiences stage fright or fear of public speaking.

    Some years ago, I was asked to be master of ceremonies at a dinner in which legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry was to give the keynote address. It was a fairly small gathering of about 300 people at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

    Landry is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he played and coached in some of the biggest games in the history of the NFL. Not only that, but as a 20-year-old bomber pilot during World War II, but he flew missions over Germany. He had been shot at. Now that can scare you!

    As he delivered his speech, I was privileged to sit directly next to the podium.

    What I saw really surprised me.

    Tom Landry was speaking to an audience that admired and probably even idolized him. There was no reason to be nervous in the least. In their eyes, he could do no wrong.

    Yet, from my seat less than three feet away, I could see Tom Landry palms sweating and his hands trembling as he read from a stack of index cards containing his notes. He was literally shaking.

    Like millions of other people, it seems Tom Landry was not immune to stage fright, or halophobia.

    After the dinner ended, I got up some courage and approached him. “Coach,” I said, “would you mind if I asked you a question about your speech?”

    “That’s fine,” he replied.

    “Do you get nervous when you have to make a speech.”

    Landry smiled. “Almost every time,” he replied

    “How do you overcome it” I asked.

    His response was memorable.

    “I remind myself of what I often told my players,” he said. “Walk through your fear with faith. And you never let the fear of failure become the cause of failure.”

    That’s certainly great advice from a great man for anyone who has to deal with a fear of public speaking.

    And by the way, next time you get a little nervous because you have to make a speech, remind yourself that if someone like Tom Landry can get stage fright, or halophobia, the rest of us certainly shouldn’t be ashamed if we do too.

    • wow, this story helped me ALOT thanx
      “never let the fear of failure be the cause of failure” Im pretty sure I’ll remember dat one =) Im just freaking out because I have to give a speech on my High school graduation.That story was really really helpful

  7. Hi George!

    Thank you for sharing that beautiful story! It’s really relevant and I must agree that if a war veteran who’s stared death in the face is entitled to feel afraid, then everyone else shouldn’t be ashamed of feeling afraid either!

    I particular like Landry’s response. Indeed, the key to courage is not the absence of fear, but daring to carry on in spite of it!

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story with all of us! It’ll definitely be a comforting reminder for all of us!

    Looking forward to hearing from you again soon!

    Gary

  8. Thanks for these tips. Later on I’ve got a drama performance, and I’m worried about how the audience will react to my rather obscene character.

    For one, I’m playing a man, which is hard enough as it is, but I must admit, very entertaining on my part, but he cracks a lot of crude jokes, that I’m worried will not get many laughs and there will be the dreaded *tumbleweed* moment.

    But, these tips have helped, and Im feel slightly better about performing tonight, so thanks!

    Wish me luck :)

    -Mikaela

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  10. Hello Gary,

    I would like to apologize for this very delayed email. The Philippine Independence Day celebration was a great success and thank you very much for all the techniques you have shared with me in the preparation, during and even after the program. I admit I was very confident and relaxed and Good God! there were about more or less than 900 people around. The venue was so small. It was the biggest crowd we had in years. Again, I thank you so much.

    Take care,

    Mel

  11. Hello Gary
    I’m Engineering student from India,i got very nervous every time i had to speak in front of a group,my confidence level was very down,
    but now with the help of your article,i have learn t how to control this fright
    It helps me a lot and makes me confident while speaking.

    Thank You sir.

  12. Hi Dipesh,

    Glad it helped you! Let me know which are the other areas you’d like to develop and I’ll see if I can make a post on it!

    All the best!

    Gary

  13. thanks i might only be ten but this really helps with my play i am a lead actor so i was sooo scared so thanks again.

  14. Pingback: K & A Blog » Blog Archive » Five things to avoid doing when you make a presentation.·

  15. i’ve learned that people are different with their stage fright some people cry , and some people just get butterfly’s in their stomach and sometimes other people even get sick ,i cry really badly when i go up in front of people.people wont care about how you look or what you do , they just care about being your freind and seeing you accomplish what the teacher asked you to do.if you cry or get sick or get butterfly’s don’t let that slow you down from doing the best job you can do at leat you get a grade or point instead of f or a zero.i’ve cried and you couldnt understand me and i’ve still gottin A’s.Don’t let stage fright slow you down almost everybody has stage fright just ask your parents what they did to get over it ,and if that does’nt help bring something from home that comforts you .

  16. i have really made stage fright.. when i get up there i feel faint and mess up so much i wonder if anyone even understood what i was saying any tips for the terribly shy?

  17. Hi
    I’m engineering student from India , I had my introductory seminar on my final year project today . As my team-mates wish I presented my project but I totally messed it up … initially i started well but later on everything was blank i dnt know what i’m taking about , finally i managed with it . After the presentation i asked my team-mate he said i was totally out of track….. from then i was totally depressed and started hating myself and very often i feel i’m fit for nothing.
    But i prepared well practiced many a times and even presented in front of my project guide then it was ok …. but while at final presentation i totally messed it….. please help me..

    with tears….

    • Hi Vinay,

      thanks for writing! While we often preach that practicing and rehearsing helps, there is also the flip side of practicing too much! Memorizing scripts, whilst can help a person deliver content, can often trip the presenter up.

      Should he/she forget a line, everything gets jumbled up afterwards. And even if he/she doesn’t, there is always the tendency of sounding rigid and impersonal too.

      My recommendations are:

      1) Relax! – It’s not the end of the world, as long as you’re willing to work on it.

      2) Work on it! – Especially when you’re not required to speak (yet). Pre-emption is better than prevention! It is the cure!

      3) Use an outline – Instead of memorizing, I will recommend that you draw up an outline of main points (and their sub/supporting points) to guide you in your presentation. Just be careful to write down the key points in bullet-point form, and not write down your entire script. Then you’ll be reading, not speaking!

      4) Visualize success – Instead of merely repeating what you say during rehearsals to yourself/team-mates, visualize yourself speaking to a room full of people, the very people, you’re supposed to speaking to. Keep the process up to keep the “freaking out” down!

      5) Take baby steps – start speaking before small groups of people to build up your confidence. Then gradually challenge yourself to speak to a bigger group. Moving out of your comfort zone gradually will help “stretch” you further.

      All the best,

      Vinay!

  18. Thank you, all this makes perfect sense. I’m not weird for moving around or walking around to get rid of nervous energy.

  19. hi. i am a sophomore in high school and i love english class and try to maintain an A or B but on thursday i had to do a one minute speech. i was so scared and nervous that i decided to take an E which highly affectived my grade instead of conquoring this fear. it makes me so mad and sad that i have this stupid fear. i hold back alot because i don’t like being in the center of attention. those tips you gave might not work for me. i mean my fear is so bad i feel like throwing up and my voice shakes or i can’t even speak. should i take pills to get over this fear?

    • Hi Beverly!

      do you mean taking anti-anxiety pills? Anxiety can be a medical condition, and you may seek medical advice about whether it’s suitable for you.

      In the meantime, you could also try taking baby steps to overcome this fear by speaking in small groups, ie, from 1 to 2 people to 3, 5 , 7, 9 and so on. Being in the center attention may not necessarily be essential in all forms of work, but if you’ll have to deal with it if you intend to become a leader/manager at the workplace eventually.

      In any case, I can see many other instances where your being able to communicate competently in public can help you. Also, just something to think about: if you’re going to spend time running away, why not spend some time thinking and working on overcoming the fear too?

      It will not be pleasant. But it can be rewarding.

      Hope these help!

      All the Best, Beverly!

      Regards,

      Gary

      • Hello Gary, thanks for an excellent article. It really inspired me. Iam currently pursuing my bachelors degree in arts and I need to make a lot of presentations but the very thought makes me sweat While presenting I shake and tremble and I cant control it. Is there any way out? I have talked to many people and try inspiring myself but the fear keeps popping out! Ps help . Looking 4wrd 2 ur repl :)

  20. Hey Gary!

    This really helps alot! I’m doing my ninth-grade speech next year, and I’m quite worried. In my History class I had to give a speech, and I started shaking like htat. I didn’t even know I had a fear of speaking until then. But this helps alot, thank you so much! If I may ask one question, do you have any tips for steadying your breath? It seems that I run out of breath in the middle of a sentence, but I keep talking until I start freaking out. Thanks so much!

  21. hi gary! and every 1 add me in my facebook account:)

    marcuap.donnajane@yahoo.com

    thanks 4 the FEAR BUSTER TECHNIQUES

    it really helps ,we’ll be making a stage performance and i’ll be the leading character… wish me good luck:)
    i’m looking forward for other techniques

    tnx brilliant Gary:)

  22. Pingback: The Biggest Lesson You’ll Ever Learn About Stage Fright to Become A Better Speaker « The Shy Speaker's Guide to Success on Stage·

  23. Hi Ranijoy,

    glad that you you find them helpful. Definitely, do incorporate them into your daily work and life with consistency, and watch the transformation begin!

  24. Nice one mate! … it really helped me put the fear in the right perspective – fear is good! ;).
    I have to emcee at an event today ..
    wish me luck .. :)

    thanks a ton :)

  25. hi gary!

    i need your help because i was invited to host a case presentation of doctors in a well known hospital, if you may help me by sending me at least an outline of sample lines of introduction of speakers etc.

    thank you. this will be very much appreciated! its going to be this friday already please help!

    • Hi Cally,

      Apologies, I just got see your entry… I hope everything went well!

      A better way to reach me would be via Facebook (preferred) or email. =)

  26. hi gary.thank u very much for ur valuable thoughts of stage fear.it really helps me.actually i’m having an speech competition,i think so i will win no definitly i will win.really thank you gary

  27. Hey everyone I’m 13 and in 5th grade I said a poem for the speech meet and My voice got extremely shaky,it got so bad and I was really surprised because this had never happened before so I started crying and it became a meltdown in front of everybody. It was very embarrassing and humiliating. I am still struggling with this problem but I have been very encouraged by this article. I realize that I dumb myself down a lot and think that I can’t do when really what I need to do is encourage myself and know that I can do all things in Christ who strengthened me. Also, I’ve always thought that succeeding is doing a perfect job and not crying but I will have still succeeded even if I cry as long as I have the right purpose in mind and do my best and not need to care what other people think. So thank you for helping me realize that and even thigh I dread public speaking I’m going to try and embrace it and be thankful for this trial that the Lord has given me. Psalm 56:3-4 says, ” When I am afraid , I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust, I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?”

  28. Hi Gary,
    Thanks for the tips, I really appreciate it… I am going to be the MC for a annual performance for my school and i was stiff with nervousness until i rea these tips…though i have one problem… i stutter alot when im on stage so wish me luck!

  29. hi Gary

    your article is really worth..next week I have to do a seminar in our college..and I think definitely this will help me a lot..

    thank u Gary:-)

  30. hello my names natalie, im in year 11, i have really bad stage fright and i was asked to read in front of my class i said the first word then just couldn’t stop crying, and everyone was looking at me and some were even laughing im not sure what to do because i have another speech coming up in front of the same people who laughed at me, and im not sure if this tips will help.. :(

    • Hi Natalie,

      thank you for getting in touch with me! Let’s see how we can help you.

      Perhaps, you can start by sharing with me what goes through your mind when you’re standing up and facing the audience?

      Regards,

      Gary

  31. Thank you, very much, Gary for this article. I sing / emcee / play guitar / perform music etc when I’m free from school and what have you, but I think these tips will overcome and make every performance, video, venue more than amazing, but WOW! Thanks again Gary, I think this article will step up every performance by more than 100 percent!

    God bless

    Charlie

  32. Thank you so much! This is rely gonna help me! I have to present my power point and I’m so nervous but this really helps!

  33. I’ve got to do a seminar this sem..and my stage fear engulfs me from head to toe….but I’ll keep your words in mind.I’m going to start by speaking out to people .I’ve mostly been the silent one never speaking out my opinions .It is high time I change and I surely will..Your piece was really inspiring.
    Thanks a lot Gary!!

    • All the best, Rose! Fight the small battles, remember the wins, and learn from the losses!

      Winners never quit, and quitters never win! Let me know how it goes!

  34. hey gary,,, dis is a shy speaker,,, i am good in studies and also good in everything,,, but still i cant find out why i am not confident and why shake in front of the stage… i just want to remove my fear as soon as possible,,, its a barrier of my life,,,i just want to show my competetors that i can make it,,,,,suggest me some guidence,,,

    • Hi Shikha,

      thank you for getting in touch! Mind if I ask, what are some of the thoughts that come to mind when you are ask to or are just about to speak?

      Regards,

      Gary

  35. Ur tips n discussion have inspired me a lot.Stage fright is like worst case senario for me.I can dance,speak,and act well.Dis is what i feel about me.After going through this edition i hope for getting lesser goosebumps.Thax for ur divine help .

  36. Ur tips n discussion have inspired me a lot.Stage fright is like worst case senario for me.I can dance,speak,and act well.Dis is what i feel about me.After going through this edition i hope for getting lesser goosebumps.Thax for ur divine help .Ur views are awesome sir.Now i hope to be more confident in coming time

    • Hi Shivam!

      I’m glad that you found the tips helpful! Keep on speaking and going beyond your comfort zone! Remember, “ships in a harbour are safe. But that’s not what ships are made for”.

      You are meant to shine on stage, Shivam! Keep going and keep up the great work!

      Yours Sincerely,

      Gary G

    • Gary – good article! Stage fright can be crippling. I hope I’m not breaking any rules of your site, but I wanted to share a video interview where a variety artist talks about avoiding the negative thoughts and using stage fright to your advantage. There are times where someone may not want to be on-stage – and this is a pretty interesting an accurate take.

      http://entertainment-experts.com/hilby-discusses-stage-fright/

      Thanks again for making this article and discussion available!

  37. Good day Gary.

    I’m not a professional performer but have to hit the stage floor once in a while to recite a poem or fill a break with a song.

    In my young days, I had a terrible fright that nearly stopped me from doing anything on the stage.

    But I changed my mindset, and now I don’t have any fear at all. And I find there are only two things that really matter: 1. Awareness that you are here to give, and not to expose yourself to the audience for their evaluation; 2. Knowing and deeply understanding the material you want to speak about, recite, sing or show some other way. If you have these in place, there is just no space for fear left.

    Just enjoyment…

    James

  38. For me , i always run abt or do exercises to make me feel lil tired… then, as i do my drama actings, i feel relieved , not hving stage frights…

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