In the upcoming slides, you will learn... What stage fright is. How controlled stage fright is helpful. How uncontrolled stage fright can be harmful. How to prepare thoroughly. How to relax before you speak. How to develop the right attitude. How to concentrate on your topic and audience. How to handle specific symptoms.
Understanding Stage Fright “The human brain is a wonderful thing. It starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.” - George Jessel Most people experience stage fright. If you polled the people in this classroom right now, 80 to 90% would report some form of nervousness about giving a public speech. Stage fright affects most people in physical ways…
Understanding Stage Fright Understanding Stage Fright (continued) Sweaty palms queasy stomach dry mouth excessive perspiration increased heart rate shortness of breath The reasons for these symptoms of stage fright are because people want to perform well and make a good impression, but they are worried that they may not be very successful.
Controlled Stage Fright You can make good use of tension when you are preparing to deliver a speech. This tension causes muscles to tighten, you heart and breathing rates to increase, and more adrenalin and oxygen to pump throughout your body. Good public speakers can take this result of stage fright and make it work for them by learning to control it and channel it properly. Well-known speakers have reported that their most successful speeches have been those that they were most nervous about beforehand.
Uncontrolled Stage Fright Inexperienced speakers, unused to feeling the symptoms of stage fright, often think their dry throat or sweaty palms spell certain doom for their speech. The result is runaway stage fright. 2 Forms of Runaway Stage Fright: –1) Lack of Confidence- speaker has allowed the symptoms of stage fright to snowball. This leads to runaway stage fright. –2) Overconfidence- Does not usually begin until after the speech begins. It takes the speaker by surprise. If you are overconfident, and you have a moment of forgetfulness, sudden stage fright can be triggered.
Prepare Thoroughly One effective method for controlling stage fright is to prepare thoroughly for each public speech. 1) Study your topic. 2) Analyze the needs of your audience. 3) Research & outline the ideas of your speech. 4) Rehearse your presentation sufficiently.
Relax Before You Speak Here are several relaxation techniques that will help reduce the physical symptoms of stage fright. 1) Force yourself to yawn several times. Fill your lungs w/ air each time by breathing deeply. 2) Let your head hang down as far as possible on your chest for several moments. Then slowly rotate it in a full circle, at the same time allowing your eyelids to droop lazily. Let your mouth and lower jaw hang open loosely. Repeat 5 or 6 times. 3) Sit in a slumped position in a chair as if you were a rag doll. Allow your arms to dangle beside the chair, your head to slump on your chest, and your mouth to hang open. Tighten all your muscles at one time, and then gradually relax them. Repeat.
Train yourself to think in the right way: 1) Since the time for my speech is getting near, what I’m feeling are symptoms of stage fright. It is anticipation and excitement that make me feel this way. 2) This is my body’s way of preparing me to meet a special speech situation. 3) Once my speech begins, this tension will serve as a spring to sharpen my thinking and give vitality to my presentation.
Don’t think about yourself too much. Instead, begin to develop a positive attitude. When you do develop one, the worst symptoms of stage fright are likely to disappear. How can you begin developing such an attitude? Choose your speech topics carefully. Be interested in your topic. Share your enthusiasm of the topic with your audience.
While you are actually delivering your speech, search the faces of your audience to make certain they are following your ideas to see whether the listeners agree with your ideas. If you perceive boredom growing among your listeners, change tactics and attempt to regain their attention and interest. Oftentimes, simply using more expression in your voice regains their attention. If you concentrate on looking for audience feedback and making an appropriate response to it, you will have little time to think about yourself. Concentrate On Your Audience
Humor has long been used as a means of reducing tension between speaker & audience. Getting a laugh form the audience builds confidence rapidly. When using humor, observe these precautions: –Prepare humor thoroughly beforehand, making certain it will be understood and appreciated by this particular audience. A joke that falls flat can destroy a speaker’s confidence rather than rebuild it. –Use humor mainly during the speech introduction, sprinkling lesser amounts throughout the remainder of the speech. –Do not overuse humor. –Avoid offensive jokes.
Handling Specific Symptoms Trembling hands and a rattling manuscript- Use 3x5 note cards and concentrate on squeezing your shoulder blades together. Stumbling Over words-getting “tongue twisted”- Deliberately slow down your speaking rate until the problem disappears. Excessive Perspiration- Ignore it. Do not call attention to it by wiping your hands or forehead. Tense Muscles- Use platform movement and gestures, and again, concentrate on squeezing your shoulder blades together. Feeling Inferior- Try dressing for the speech in the outfit that makes you look your best. Naturally, it must be appropriate to the audience and the occasion. Dry Mouth- Speak slowly to avoid getting tongue tied. Do not lick your lips in front of the audience.
What You Have Learned... What stage fright is. Controlled and Uncontrolled stage fright & how to deal with it. How to prepare thoroughly. How to relax before you speak. How to develop the right attitude. How to concentrate on you audience and your topic. How to use humor thoughtfully. How to handle some specific symptoms.
Overcoming Speech Anxiety Understanding presentational anxiety and applying some of these techniques and suggestions will help you overcome the more paralyzing forms of stage fright. They might become very useful when you give your next speech.