There is a big difference between being “fearful” and being “nervous”. When it comes to public speaking, someone who has stage fright might sweat profusely or revisit their breakfast before it’s time for them to go on stage. I’ve even heard stories about people who stand too straight with their knees locked and just fall over passed out.
Personally, I’m a nervous speaker, probably borderline on the whole “stage fright” bit. It takes me a few minutes to get warmed up in front of a crowd, but once I do, I start feeling some confidence and am able to shake off the nerves. As important as it is to inspire your audience, you have to have some of that inspiration too; otherwise your speech won’t have the same excitement-boosting factor.
Here are some tips on how to draw a little inspiration for yourself before you go out in front of the waiting fans.
- You’re out there aren’t you? There are a lot of people who would be too scared of even agreeing to speak at an engagement, let alone being able to take that stage.
- Say some good things about yourself. You are your greatest critic after all, so shut up the negative inside of you that wants you to fall off the stage or rip the seam in your pants and pump yourself up with some positive things – even if you only end up complementing yourself on your hair.
- The night before your speech do a dramatic reading of your speech. No, maybe your speech isn’t MacBeth or Romeo & Juliet, but doing something really over the top can help you shake off some of those ‘pre-speech’ nerves. Plus – it would be really fun.
- Stop second guessing yourself. You’ve been preparing for this speech for weeks, or even months. So put down the notes, stop making changes, and trust yourself. You’re not so bad you know?
What kind of things do you do in your preparation to give yourself an extra boost of confidence? Remember that you have to believe in what you’re saying if you expect a room full of people to believe along with you.