7 Sure Fire Ways To Overcome Stage Fright When Speaking Or
Author: Rev Michael Bresciani
In thirty years of speaking and performing I have heard just
about every solution for overcoming stage fright. Some have
suggested trying to envision your audience all being naked.
Others have advised that you just pick one point of focus in the
room such as one persons forehead and concentrate only on that.
These ideas almost never work, so here are a few better ideas
you should consider.
Prayer or Meditation: If youre a believer you can pray if you
are not at least take time to clear your mind and meditate. (On
clearing your mind) A short prayer for God to guide you and give
you the right words cant ever hurt. God has promised to give
believers words even when they are under a heavy persecution; Mt
10:19. Why wouldnt he also help when there isn’t any
persecution? He would. Obviously you must do this before you
speak. If you dont pray before you speak you might find
yourself praying in the middle of your presentation for God to
get you out of it as quickly as possible. Do not overlook this
little gem because although it seems unimportant, it can
actually be what makes or breaks your performance or
Concentrate Only On what Your Doing or Saying: Finding something
to focus on in the room, the podium or in your own head is the
quick road to failure. If you are concentrating on some external
matter your attention is divided and everyone will see that as
clearly as a red blinking light on you head. One hundred percent
of your attention on your subject, your music or anything else
leaves zero percent wasted on fear, faces and nerves. It also
goes without saying that you should never give any attention to
time. It is another great false detractor. If you are in a hurry,
it shows a lack of confidence, if you go over time you must be
approaching expert levels in your field. Take that as an
Ask Yourself One Single Question: Before you begin speaking ask
yourself one all important question. Who in this entire audience
could do or say what I am doing or saying? If you consider the
answer very carefully you will always arrive at the same answer
which is, few to none. When I was playing American and Irish
Folk music I constantly reminded myself that I had a repertoire
of about one thousand songs. I wasnt trying to feed my ego but
I was reminding myself of one fact. If I were to ask my audience
how many people could do one thousand songs, I would get no
answers at all most of the time. When I get up to speak I am
reminded of years of schooling, hours of personal preparation,
scores of published articles and two published books. Ego, no,
it is only the answer to the all important question. The bottom
line is that since no one can say or do what you are saying or
doing just get on with it. Waste no time on what anyone thinks.
If they could do what you are doing they would be in the podium
and you would be in the audience.
Get Emotional: If you stuff doesnt move you it wont move
anyone else either. This is an immutable rule of presentation.
If you are singing your interpretation of Twinkle Twinkle Little
Star pour yourself into it. If you are speaking about the
nocturnal habits of fire ants do it with gesticulations,
reverberations and tremors. Ridiculous you say, think again. One
of the greatest influences in my days of performing music was a
man I had never met and I never heard even one note of his
music. His influence came from the remarks I heard others make
about him. They all agreed that his shows were amazing because
he was so overwhelmingly emotional and caught up in what he was
doing. I soon discovered that when I got all wrapped up and
emoted in my music that even when I thought my performance was
poor the audience did not. Try it you will like it.
Use Humor: Not everyone is good at telling jokes and humorous
stories but almost everyone knows at least one or two good ones.
Nothing breaks the ice quicker than humor. If you get them
laughing early you have already invoked at least one basic human
emotional response, provoking others will be a great deal easier
from then on. Dont comb the joke books looking for the best
jokes. Think of the jokes you have heard others say recently.
The key is twofold. Pick a joke or humorous story that is
somewhat related to what you are presenting. And do not pick
jokes that you alone think are funny. Use jokes that you have
seen bringing others to a belly laugh. Use humor that has worked
in the public domain. Don’t overdue the humor angle because
people can recognize filler material very easily. The other side
of the coin is not to ignore this useful tool of the trade.
Laughter is a great equalizer for both audience and speaker.
Get Personal: This is far more than good advice, it is a rule
that if ignored will become the difference between success and
failure. I have watched skilled musicians who never once
addressed their audiences. Their performance may have been
impeccable but in the end met with little acclaim. I’ve heard
speakers who know their subject forward and backward but left
people yawning and fidgeting. What was missing was often if not
always the personal touch. You must get a rapport going with any
audience on the personal level or will get nothing else going at
all. How can you do that? Take a cue from the stand up comedian
or the storyteller. They ask mundane questions and they wait for
someone to answer or acknowledge it with a gesture or murmur.
Where are you from, any one here from New York? Hey, does it
ever stop raining here in Washington. Let me see how many of you
are here tonight; if you are here raise your hand. For those of
you that didnt raise your hand I have a question, where the
heck are you? I often started off by saying, thank you for
having me here tonight and it is good to see you all here to
hear my music, now get out of here every one of you. Some were
shocked, some giggled some roared but all came to attention.
Sound silly, it is but make no mistake, it works.
See The Crowd As Only One Person: No science is available to
prove how or why this little tool works, but be assured it will
never fail. Always speak to the audience as if you were talking
to only one single person. It makes them feel that you are being
very personal with each individual, they can feel the
difference. It shrinks the crowd on a perceptional level for
you. Remember that perception is often the better part of
reality. It moves the entire matter to a, one on one. Who
wouldnt admit that they are more comfortable talking to their
neighbor or some stranger but not a whole crowd? Approach your
performance or address as if you were doing just that and you
About the author:
Rev Bresciani is from New Orleans La and the author of Hook line
and Sinker or What Has Your Church Been Teaching You,
PublishAmerica 2005 and An American Prophet and His Message,
Questions and Answers on the Second Coming of Christ, Xulon
Press 2005. His website is, http://americanprophet.org