Being on stage alone is scary – whether you are a dance, actor or public speaker, all eyes are on you. While we may be mentally prepared and emotionally ready, our bodies can betray us. There is no way to control all our physiological responses, but we can certainly manage them. I am going to provide you with 5 simple steps to overcome fear of public speaking and manage your body’s reaction to being nervous while on stage.
First, if you are struggling with fear of public speaking, I encourage you to think of the four elements: earth, air, water and fire.
Plant both your feet and ground them into the floor; feel how solid the earth is and how it is supporting you as you stand there on the stage. Allow that grounding to transfer up through your legs and into your body. You are standing strongly and solidly – nothing can knock you over. Not even your fear or anxiety.
If you slowly inhale through your nose and out through your mouth, your heart rate will slow down and you will feel calmer because your nervous system will relax. In addition, trust the work that you’ve done and the preparation you’ve made for your public speech. You are ready.
Anxiety causes dryness in your mouth, so make sure you have water with you on stage. There is no rule that says public speakers can’t have water with them
Energize your performance
If you think of nerves, they can feel hot – just like fire. Use that fire to heat your center and energize yourself.
If you have fear of public speaking, or suffer from anxiety while on stage, call on the four elements when your body starts to betray you.
Rehearse under mild pressure
This is the fifth and most important step a public speaker can take to settle their nerves. Mild pressure means somebody who doesn’t stress you out when you’re performing – this could be your spouse, partner or close friend. Use the four elements in that circumstance so that you can feel what happens to your body physiologically and you can practice having the confidence in knowing that you aren’t going to faint.
Over time, increase that mild pressure by rehearsing in front of a larger group – always applying the four elements and knowing what is going to happen to your body when you perform on stage. In doing all of this, you will successfully combat your nerves and minimize your fear of public speaking.
Looking for more public speaking tips? Check out Tricia’s YouTube channel for her tips, tricks and techniques in the art of public speaking. Tricia Brouk is an award-winning director, writer, producer and public speaking coach. As an expert in the art of public speaking, she puts speakers on TED Talks, TEDx and other big stages. She also hosts the award-winning podcast, The Big Talk. Subscribe on iTunes today!