Stage fright is a common form of anxiety an individual faces during any performance in front of an audience. Performing in front of a large audience can be out of the comfort zone for many, but some feel outright panic and dread when forced into this situation. This might indicate that they suffer from a social anxiety disorder called stage phobia.
Many seasoned performers have attested to being a victim of this disorder. You might have heard of actors or dancers going through a ritual before a performance to get in the zone. These rituals are nothing but a way to combat their fear and pre-show jitters.
Overcoming fear is never easy, but anyone who has ever faced ridicule due to a failed performance or speech in front of a large group of people is aware of the hit it takes on their self-confidence. Stage phobia can take away countless opportunities from an individual, including a promotion, dream job, or any leadership position.
But don’t worry; many experts in public speaking courses can help you overcome your fear and perform comfortably in front of an audience.
Symptoms of stage fright
Before providing you with tips for stage fright, it is important first to recognize the symptoms as it can help you better understand your anxiety and fear.
Some common symptoms of stage fright are:
- Excessive sweating
- Shallow breathing
- Hot flashes
- Loss of appetite
- Upset stomach
These symptoms are faced on different levels by different people.
Some people also face stammering, confusion, a tendency to forget lines or moves, frequent bathroom usage, racing thoughts, losing self-confidence, and awkward pausing in their speeches.
What are the causes of stage phobia?
Most of the time, stage phobia comes from the unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves. The idea of failure and ridicule in front of a large group of people makes us anxious and thus creates immense fear in our minds.
People who hate to be the center of attention often feel the need to hide from any situation that can make them noticed in front of a large audience. But this fear often makes them miss out on many opportunities.
Refraining from underestimating your capabilities and giving others’ opinions more credit can make you nervous and hesitant in your decision. This creates anxiety and fear of rejection. Many experts have frequently discussed this topic and given tips on getting rid of stage fright. Implementing them might help you to overcome your fear.
Why is overcoming stage fright important?
People with amazing talents and knowledge are rejected due to low self-esteem and stage fright.
Speaking publicly is a nightmare for many, but overcoming these fears and learning new skills can boost your confidence and provide you with great positions in any industry.
Steps on how to get rid of stage fright?
Improving your skills might help you eliminate the fear and pre-show jitters. No one is immune to nervousness or fear. Acceptance of your capabilities and trusting yourself to perform is a good way to overcome fear.
Although improving skills and acceptance might help you but to totally get rid of the stage phobia, you need to understand the source of your stage phobia. Negative thinking, low self-esteem, and judging yourself harshly can be the reason for your anxiety.
Sensitivity to harsh criticism can also pull back many people from ever putting themselves in a position where they can be judged and rejected. Rejection is hard to accept. When an audience rejects a speaker or a performer, it undermines their confidence and leads to a downward spiral. But trying to avoid criticism is not the solution. Instead, learn your worth and avoid seeking validation from everyone.
Re-evaluating yourself might help you in addressing some of the problems. You can also talk to your therapist and discuss how to get rid of stage fright. A professional will help you to better understand your fears. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) provided by a psychotherapist helps to identify and change negative emotions. They help you understand the cause of the negative thoughts and provide relaxation techniques to reduce the fear.
Tips for stage fright:
- Learn breathing exercises, like abdominal breathing, to calm yourself and slow your heart rate.
- Try to avoid obsessing over your speech or your performance. Instead, visualize your success.
- Positive thinking can change every performer’s body movement. Nervousness is easy to recognize, so hyping yourself up before a performance might help you to perform better.
- Prepare and plan your speech carefully in advance.
- Practice Yoga and meditation to calm your racing thoughts.
- Practice your speech in front of a friend or any person you are comfortable with.
- Practice your body movement in front of a mirror and try to avoid awkward pauses.
- Do not read; instead, make an outline of the points that you want to discuss.
- Making eye contact and smiling can help you to connect with your audience.
- Trying to use humor can also do the job of easing your fear as well as establishing a connection with your audience.
- Do not be hard on yourself, and try to accept that you can make mistakes.
Implementing the above-mentioned tips for stage fright might help you in overcoming your fears and build up your confidence. You can also seek help from online public speaking courses that will help you in gaining confidence and overcome your stage fright.
Orator Academy offers help to anyone who is struggling with stage phobia. Their courses help you to achieve your goals and learn an important skill. These courses are designed by experts, and you are guided by mentors who help to support you in every step.