Stage fright is horrible. The nerve-wracking anxiety that you’re going to lose your notes, forget how to speak in public, or suddenly discover that you’ve arrived on the wrong day all contribute to many people being uncomfortable or unwilling to share their knowledge in public.
The truth is that even the best public speakers sometimes have anxiety over a presentation. What separates them from us is that they have learned to manage their anxiety, and even turn it into positive fuel for their performance.
Here are 14 tricks that can help you turn your performance nerves into presentation fuel.
Get There Early
Plan for all the making-you-late contingencies. Have a back-up outfit in your car, and allow for enough driving time to go the long way and have bad traffic. If you’re doing an online presentation, test out the equipment with a friend in the office.
Even if you end up incredibly early, you can run through your notes one more time.
Do Jumping Jacks or Run in Place Backstage
Anxiety is, at its core, extra adrenaline with nowhere to go. Give it something to do. Run in place, jump in place, do a few jumping jacks, or stretch and do some yoga.
By activating your muscles and moving your body, you will decrease the anxiety while keeping the heightened awareness.
The biggest gift of meditation is the ability to focus your mind in the present moment. Practicing meditation regularly will help you slow your breathing, center your thoughts, and reduce your worrying.
Your “what if” thoughts might still intrude, but you’ll find it easier to let them go and refocus.