Have you ever had to go in front of an entire audience to deliver a speech? If your heart beats fast and your palms get super sweaty when you do, this probably means you’ve caught the unfortunate ailment of stage fright—or, in some cases, anxiety.
Luckily, you’ve stumbled upon a great guide to surviving the unfortunate woes of stage fright. Read on (and take notes) on these nine steps to overcoming the all-too-common fear.
1. Take it in Stride
Realize that nobody is perfect and that it’s okay to make mistakes or stumble over a few words. Your peers probably didn’t notice or care. Sure, it’s normal to be a little embarrassed, but once you realize that dwelling on it will only make the feeling worse, you’ll feel relieved in no time.
Practice. Practice. Practice. Whatever your presentation or speech may be, take the time to rehearse. If you’re able to memorize it, that’s even better.
Tip 1: Practice at least a week or two in advance so you can memorize a little bit day by day. Don’t be afraid to use cue cards if you need them, especially if your memory isn’t the best.
Tip 2: Practice in the mirror. Be conscious of your nervous tics. You’ll probably feel ridiculous, but doing this is healthy. Whether you fidget, grab at your hair and clothes, or sway, you are capable of addressing them and correcting them for when you present.
During presentations, your heart may start racing and your breathing could become jagged. To prevent this from happening, try to steady your breathing and mind through some simple breathing exercises, such as inhaling for 5 seconds and then exhaling for another 5 seconds. This trick seems deceptively simple, but it’ll allow your heart rate to decrease and make you feel calmer.
Tip 3: If possible, listen to some relaxing music that places you in a calm mindset.
4. Be Confident (and Stand Tall)
Know that you are a rockstar. You can go to that interview, stage, or classroom and completely own your speech. Blow your audience out of the water. You can do it. Telling yourself these things will go a long way.
5. Get A Good Night’s Rest
Make sure you get a restful sleep before your big day. Get at least eight hours’ sleep so you’re guaranteed a clear, well-rested mind for the coming day. You’ll thank yourself in the morning when you can remember every single word of your speech.
Have a simple, light, but nutritious breakfast on the morning of your presentation. You’ll boost your energy levels and decrease your chances of suffering a pesky stomach ache later in the day.
Some simple breakfast ideas could include fruits and yogurt, an egg omelette, a piece of toast, or even a bowl of your favourite healthy cereal (i.e. no Froot Loops for you).
7. Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. This will have you feeling energized and will reduce your levels of fatigue. Also, not fainting is pretty cool.
8. Use the Bathroom
No one—I repeat, no one—wants to go to the bathroom halfway through their presentation. Go to the bathroom at least twenty minutes before speaking so you aren’t late.
9. Be Yourself
You do you! Being yourself in front of a large group of people will make you feel less nervous and less worried about messing up. People are also more likely to take a liking to you and give you their full attention if they can see that you’re being genuine.
Tip 4: Speak clearly and enunciate your words. Put some emotion and energy into each sentence.
Hopefully these suggestions will work wonders for you if you struggle with stage fright. Either way, I’m sure you’ll be amazing out there. Own those speeches, recitals, and presentations, SLNers!
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.