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How Can You Fight Stage Fright

Updated on December 2, 2015

Just like you, I have also fear on speaking in front of other people. I’m afraid that the audience won’t like my piece. I’m afraid that I will receive criticisms.

For over three years in college and studying broadcast communication, I’ve learned many strategies on how to cope with stage fright. Though I still have this fear whenever I am performing, I can now control it. For instance, last time we had a declamation performance. Of course it’s not about reading my declamation piece but memorizing and acting it in front of my classmates and teacher. I admit that when my professor announced this activity in class I felt nervous. I felt that maybe I couldn’t do it properly. And the worst is that I come up with the idea that I will not come to class on the day of our presentation.

Then I realized that I will fail this subject if I won’t be participating because participation is 50% of the grade. So I asked myself, “What I am afraid of?” I know my piece. I’ve read it. I’ve practiced it. Am I afraid because I was thinking of reporting rather than this activity? Maybe, I wasn’t ready for that performance but I’m happy that I did it. Though I forget some important lines on that piece but I did it. I performed in front of my classmates with no fear at all. Yes, I was nervous at that time but I am happier doing my performance. I should admit that I forget some lines because I was not concentrate especially when I look at my teacher’s expression. But still I am proud that I did it.

What is Stage Fright?

Stage fright also known as performance anxiety is the fear or phobia that aroused when an individual performing in front of an audience. This usually happens when a person felt that he/she is the center of attention, when she is afraid of audience judgment and when she expects a perfect performance.

Stage fright has numerous manifestations: fluttering or pounding heart, tremor in the hands and legs, sweaty hands, facial nerve tics, dry mouth, erectile dysfunction and dizziness. It is a common fear in public speaking, job interviews and performing in front of other people.

What are the causes of stage fright?

There are many causes of stage fright that some of us didn't know or just ignore it. In this hub we will talked about the possible causes that we must strictly avoid.

So what are the possible causes of stage fright?

1. You have a bad preparation and not enough practice.
This is a very common cause of stage fright. Before a presentation, you must prepare and have enough practice. For instance, I had a classmate who is not the type of a person that is afraid of performing in front of other people. But when we had our declamation, she couldn’t start the first line of her piece. Why? Because before our performance, she said that she didn’t practice her piece because she is not expecting that we will be having our performance on that day. She even comes to school 20 minutes late.

2. You are afraid of judgment.
All of us have the fear to be judge by other people. We don't want to hear negative thoughts from other people. We don't want to accept criticisms. But if we are always have fear to be judge then we can’t concentrate on what we have to be done in front of other people. Because instead of doing our best during our performance we are thinking of what would be the audience thinking of us right now. Accept those judgments on the positive way that it will help you to improve not on the negative side.

3. You lack self confidence.
Sometimes we fear because we don’t have any confidence in ourselves. The most important thing that you must do is to trust yourself that you can do it. Always remember, if other people trust you then why you cannot trust yourself? Your family, friends, teachers and all people that surrounds you believes that you can do it.

4. You always compare your abilities with other people.
Please stop comparing yourself with others. Always remember that all of us are unique. You have your own ability that other people are wishing to have but no need to compare with them.

5. You are tired and hungry before the performance.
You need to take a rest during performance. Even the well-known performers all over the world take rest. And also you have to eat. If you are tired and hungry you cannot concentrate on your performance. Your mind will tell you to have a rest, eat and rest. And you will be out of focus.

6. You are panicking when you make mistakes.
Some of us panic when we make mistakes during our performance. Well, you need to relax. Take a deep breath, smile and don’t panic.

7. You lack knowledge about public speaking.
People who lack knowledge about public speaking are the one who fear to speak or perform in front of other people. You should have background on what to do when speaking in public. Having the knowledge will reduce your fears.

8. You always relate past negative experiences of public speaking.
“I can’t do it. I will never do it.” Some of us always relate our performance to the failures that we have done in the past. Well, it’s not always wrong to relate past experience when you think of this as an inspiration and not hindrance in your performance.

What happen to our brain during stage fright?

Have you ask yourself about “What really happens to our brain during stage fright?”

As what I've read in lifehacker.com, when we think about negative consequences, a part of our brain, the hypothalamus, activates and triggers the pituitary gland to secrete the hormone ACTH.

ACTH then stimulates the Adrenal Glands in our kidneys and results in the release of adrenaline into our blood.

Our blood pressure increases and our digestive system shut down to maximize efficient delivery of even more nutrients and oxygen to our vital organs. When our digestive system shuts down, it leads to the feeling of dry mouth or butterflies.

Even our pupils dilate, making it hard to read anything up close (like presenter notes) but improving long range visibility—making us more aware of our audience’s facial expressions.

How to deal with stage fright?

We can always avoid stage fright by following these tips.

1. Prepare for your presentation.
Be prepared. For instance, when you will be having a drama in your class, you need to memorize and practice your lines. It’s the best thing to do before your presentation or performance. You must get ready before.

2. Practice like you are performing in front of your audience.
When you are practicing, you must think of performing in front of your audience. You can also ask your friends to watch for your practice.

3. Watch your own performance in front of a mirror.
One of the best thing to do to cope with stage fright is to practice in front of a mirror. Gain confidence in yourself by reciting your lines in front of a mirror. If you keep watching yourself until you know you're really killing it, then you'll be much more likely to succeed on the stage.

4. Turn off your mind.
Once you're on stage, just focus on your words, your body, and your facial expressions. Don't waste time over thinking it and asking yourself pesky questions.

5. Never tell your audience that you are nervous speaking or performing in front of them.
Don't show up on stage and make a little joke about being nervous.

6. Think positively and have self confidence.
Always think positive whenever you are having your presentation or performance. And also trust yourself and have a self confidence that you can do it.

7. Always remember that you can do it.
Yes, whatever it takes you can do it. There is no tomorrow to have a take two but you can do it today. Believe in yourself because we believe in you.

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