Wednesday, August 15, 2007

stage jitters

We all have them whenever we face a big crowd. The knees shake, the hands tremble, our brows sweat even if the aircon is high, and the tongue is tied------stage fright! What better way to end the ordeal than to die or melt right in the very piercing eyes of those people in front of you. But no, you have a grade at stake, or a job, or a speaking career that could crash before it even took off. How do you deal with stage jitters?

I have actually discussed this in one of my blogs (now in archive) but I would like to do it again for the benefit of those who feel that their life is about to end because of a scheduled contest or speech which involves speaking in front of many people, as in a crowd in a gymnasium that could hold 2,000 people! This could really blow you off!

First, settle down. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Repeat this several times while awaiting for the moment when the emcee or host will now call you on stage.

How do you deal with stage fright? In order to minimize the impact of nervousness, prepare for the event. If it is a speech contest or any speaking engagement, make sure that you thoroughly prepare for this long before and not just at the last minute. Little or no preparation will always give us maximum jitters so avoid that. Prepare by reading, reading, reading about the subject that you will be discussing like a pro. Yes, good preparation will give you authority and will make you more or less an expert on the area. You should be the only person stocked up with much information on the topic. There is nothing more nerve-wracking than to know that there is someone in the audience who knows the subject far better than you do. No way should you let this happen. Be overly prepared and by this I mean researching and reading.

After doing the first part, the most gruelling part in public speaking, write out an outline or a speech draft. Follow an order in your speech like how do you want to start it or end it? Make sure that your outline is exhaustive enough to cover all the areas you need and that there is unity in it. Then PRACTICE. Using your outline, deliver your speech in front of the mirror and try to be your own critic. Do this thrice. When you feel you are doing well, you are now ready to face your audience. One thing to bear in mind always is to relax and not to forget to give your message to your audience. Feel nervous? Relax. That's normal. It will go away after the first few lines.

You and only you can conquer your own stage jitters. Amazingly, the best antidote for this is not a secret----preparation.

No comments: