Using Psychology To Overcome Stage Fright
Do you hate public speaking? If you go weak at the knees and are suddenly unable to manage a coherent sentence when addressing an audience, then you are not alone. Whether it’s making a presentation to a few colleagues, delivering a key speech at an international conference in front of hundreds or acting in an amateur dramatics society play, most people suffer from stage fright or, performance anxiety, to varying degrees.
Here’s how psychology can help you to conquer your public speaking nerves.
Accept the nerves and focus on the job in hand
The first step in overcoming your stage fright is accepting that it’s there. It’s important that you learn to work with your nerves, rather than struggling against them. If you spend the days leading up to the event desperately trying to confront your feelings of anxiety, they will take over your mind and you will lose focus on the actual speech you are going to deliver.
‘Focus’ can be defined as the thing you will be concentrating on while you make your presentation, give your speech or deliver your lines. This will be the material you are delivering and the audience’s response to it. Your aim is to ‘inform’ and in order to do that you must connect and engage with them.
The psychological condition of performance anxiety will make you want to distance yourself from the very people you should be trying to engage with. Although it can sometimes feel as though everyone is staring at you, just waiting for you to make a mistake or ‘dry up’, you must tell your mind that this is not the case. It’s not you they’ve come to see; it’s the information you have to impart that they are interested in. There’s nothing hostile about your audience and it’s not personal!
To combat these feelings you must make eye contact and talk to the audience, rather than at them. You can banish feelings of anxiety by encouraging audience participation. Once people are interacting with you, that horrible perception of a ‘me and them’ situation will disappear. Psychology is a very powerful tool when it comes to influencing how you feel. Think about the passion you have for the topic of your presentation and harness those feelings of enthusiasm as you make your speech. Your nerves will be carried away in a flood of fervour and your audience will be swept along with you as they pick up the vibe of your enthusiasm for your subject.
Stage fright is a very real psychological condition which affects many people from different walks of life. Try using the techniques outlined above to help tackle your performance anxiety issues and seek the advice of a professional psychological counsellor at a place like Associated Psychology Services for more advice on how to banish your fears permanently.