Not everyone can speak in front of a large audience. This requires special self-confidence, passion and a desire to be the center of attention. Sometimes it happens that it is simply necessary to go to the site and tell people about something (for example, at a working presentation or at the defense of a diploma). Some want to step out of their comfort zone and broadcast their ideas to the world. In such situations, fear of public speaking and the stage can become a real problem: read about the causes of panic and how to get rid of it in this article.
Fear of Public Speaking: Definition and Name of This Phobia
The fear of speaking in front of an audience is called glossophobia. I note that this does not concern natural excitement, but namely a panic attack before an event of any degree of importance. Despite the significance of what is happening, the number of spectators, a person may have such an overwhelming anxiety before leaving the curtain, which does not allow connecting even two words. However, in one way or another, people are always worried before going out to the public.
This type of experience is embedded in us at the subconscious level. At a time when people needed to hunt large animals in order to feed and warm themselves, the success of the “sortie” depended on teamwork. The need to feel part of the “tribe” has remained with us to this day, therefore, going on stage alone, we feel discomfort. Thus, we sort of separate ourselves from the rest of society.
Panic in this case is an absolutely normal emotion. The difference is that for a beginner it can be a devastating problem, but in the hands of an experienced speaker it can turn into a powerful tool and even transform into charisma. In addition, excitement is the motivation that makes the speaker prepare and develop harder. The absence of such a phobia would generate irresponsibility and laziness. Think of it as a real gift to do your best.
How to Deal with Stage Fear & Overcome Public Anxiety?
The phobic state begins to torment the speaker long before the impending event. It continues during direct contact with the audience, becoming the cause of psychological shock. Anxiety can arise from a reluctance to hear criticism, ridicule, and lack of confidence in one’s external attractiveness and competence. These attacks do not depend on the audience itself (fear will prevail in the circle of both strangers and acquaintances of the glossophobe). Discomfort is necessarily accompanied by physical symptoms (tremors in the limbs, accelerated heart rate, disruption of the gastrointestinal tract, fever).
Types of Stage Fright and Fear of Public Speaking
Specialists identify several types of this phobia. They are similar in symptomatology, but differ in the sources of the fear itself. To understand how to deal with a problem, you need to determine the specific form in which it manifests itself. Sometimes this requires the help of a professional.
- Peyraphobia – horror in front of the audience.
- Verbophobia – anxiety before speaking.
- Lalophobia – fear of diction disturbance, stuttering.
Why are People Afraid to Perform?
To understand how to overcome uncertainty before a public speech and boldly interact with the public, it is necessary to determine the causes of fear, there can be a lot of them, starting from a genetic predisposition. The attitude of parents to public events and their behavior can be laid down in the child at the genetic level or instilled in the process of education. Children always imitate adults, adopt their manners, habits, so it is very easy to provoke the occurrence of a phobia. Common factors contributing to the onset of glossophobia are:
- Children’s experiences. For example, the psychological discomfort caused by peer ridicule during a performance.
- The manifestation of neurotic diseases. So, the lack of control over your emotional state can further result in a fear of speaking in public, in front of an audience.
- Complexes associated with their own appearance or speech. Self-criticism is both an engine and a brake. Complexity makes it difficult to objectively assess the situation.
- Education. Some parents prohibit their children from leading a public lifestyle or limit their personal space, which makes access to the audience a painful departure from their comfort zone.
- Constant criticism from adults. Excessive criticism forms in the child self-doubt, a feeling of uselessness.
- Shyness. One of the most common reasons.
- Inability to work with criticism, unpreparedness for it.
Symptoms and Signs of The Fear of Public Speaking
Before the start of the event, the glossophobia may experience the following body reactions to stress:
- redness or pale skin;
- nervousness is reflected in gestures;
- bowel disorder;
- uncontrollable laughter;
- excessive sweating;
- dryness in the mouth;
- increased heart rate;
- tremor of the vocal cords;
- muscle spasms;
- semi-faint state;
- changes in facial expressions;
- increased pressure;
- “lump in the throat;
- problems with speech, voice;
- numbness of the limbs.
Consequences of Glossophobia (Fear of Public Speaking)
Phobias such as fear of public speaking in front of an audience can become a serious problem and lead to:
- poor performance in an educational institution;
- excessive isolation, shyness;
- the inability to achieve heights in the professional field;
- difficulty finding a job.
How to Overcome from The Fear of Public Speaking
If the problem is really critical, it is better to seek help, advice from a professional. A qualified psychologist will help you understand the sources of fear and eliminate provocateurs. It will also be useful to sign up for my personal consultation , during which you will be able to come to an agreement with yourself, find internal resources to combat the phobia.
14 Rules to overcome anxiety and fear of performing in public:
- Try to change your attitude towards anxiety. Think of it not as a barrier, but as a source of energy. Emotional experiences make the body work more actively, more intensely at the psychophysiological level. Excitement increases blood circulation, which means the brain functions faster, clearer. But for this you need not to dwell on your panic, but to swing energetically.
- Try to remember what you used to be afraid of, but now you do it with ease and in a positive way. For example, walking (yes, and you once put a huge amount of effort into this), driving a car. Access to the audience is also a potential source of new opportunities.
- Always be prepared to speak and engage with the audience. You should have a prepared plan that will allow you to feel confident, to keep the situation under control. Make sure it is flexible and reflects only key points, and does not represent a strict scenario without the right to deviate. Understand the topic well so that no questions from the audience can scare you.
- Think over all the organizational points. What should be on stage during your speech? Will you have something in your hands? How to change slides without getting confused in cards? How to hold the microphone? Maximum preparation is a sign of professionalism.
- Be an expert in what you are talking about. Only confidence in your own knowledge will help to avoid force majeure. Communicate with the audience, take your speech as an opportunity to share your experience with the audience.
- Exercise in front of the mirror, listen to the dictaphone recording of your message, rehearse with friends and family. If your speech has a time limit, check with it. While rehearsing, bring the training as close as possible to reality: put on the same clothes, use the props.
- You do not need to cram your report, keep in your head the main message, the idea that needs to be conveyed and do not be afraid to improvise. Often, it is improvisation that turns out to be the most lively, interesting moment of the report.
- Make a short summary of your speech so you can understand what you want to talk about.
- Choose narrow topics. In wide ones it is easy to get confused, get lost, go to the wrong place.
- Read as often as possible. The more thoughts you get on your question, the easier it will be to build associations, parallels, and argue your position.
- Use concepts familiar to viewers and audiences.
- Prepare cheat sheets: they can be support during the event itself or help in the process of memorizing information.
- What happens if your message ends early? And if you don’t have enough time? Be prepared for these situations.
- Be sure to take your watch with you to control your speech rate and understand when to finish a thought.
- Take the first steps to combat phobia in the most comfortable conditions. You should not jump into the pool headlong and immediately go out to a huge audience. Practice in small, friendly evenings.
There is a certain algorithm to deal with glossophobia (fear of public speaking). These are four steps to help you work through your fear:
- Participation in auto-training. It is imperative to work on your self-esteem by regularly praising yourself. Realize your strengths and remind yourself of them more often.
- Relaxation and meditation. Learn to relax and find emotional balance within yourself.
- Form a positive attitude. Think about how beautifully and successfully everything will go. Do not focus on the negative, knowingly programming yourself to make mistakes.
- Watch your appearance. Your appearance should match the format of the conversation.
Don’t Worry Before Performing in Public on Stage: Exercise at Home
There are several effective ways to reduce fear while preparing for your report at home.
To regulate the neuro-hormonal state, it is necessary to work with the body. Exercise, jump, squat. Sport promotes the production of endorphins – antistress hormones. But you should not do this right before going out to the audience: breathing should be restored, and your appearance should be neat.
Try to reproduce in detail the upcoming event in your head. Pay attention to how viewers perceive you, joke and easily answer their questions. Create the most positive picture of what is happening.
Before speaking, repeat the following aloud:
- I’m happy to be here.
- I’m glad to see you all.
- I am convinced of my expertise.
- I clearly understand what will be discussed.
- I like you.
- I inspire you.
How to Calm Down for Performing in Front of An Audience on Stage?
Stop thinking that you have to be perfect. Many are afraid to go out with a message to people, as they are wary of making a mistake. But panic will only increase the likelihood of failure. Even professional speakers cannot avoid small errors. Just follow your goal, not trying to appear as a standard in the eyes of others.
Understand that the audience will not be as demanding of you as you are of yourself. Even if something goes wrong and some little thing gets out of control, most likely it will go unnoticed against the background of your bright speech.
How to Overcome from Fear of Public Speaking on Stage with a Large Audience with Rehearsals?
The more often you rehearse, the more likely it is that everything will go like clockwork. After rereading your text more than once, you will remember it and be able to navigate in the written thoughts. However, one should not cram – a fully learned speech is perceived dryly, without interest. Record the workout on video to evaluate your behavior, facial expressions, gestures.
How not to Be Afraid Before Leaving?
Control your breathing. In a confused rhythm, it will only fuel stress. Breathe deeply, calmly, and evenly. Concentrate on alternating inhalation and exhalation to prevent destructive thoughts from arising.
How to Deal with Local Panic?
- Find viewers who are as friendly as possible. Focus your attention on them.
- If you experience tremors or numbness in your limbs, imagine being doused with water, and then shake it off.
- Breathing has a calming effect. Take a deep breath and exhale for a long time. Normalize your breathing rhythm.
Recommendations of Psychologist
Very often, it is fears that prevent us on the path to self-realization. Speaking skills are essential for building effective communication with people and moving up the career ladder. Below you will find a few more of my psychological techniques to rewire the brain to a more positive wave:
- tense and relax your muscles several times with one effort;
- take a couple of sips of cool water;
- provoke yawning;
- transfer body weight from heels to toes and vice versa;
- move your jaw, massage your cheekbones;
- rub your palms;
- move at a fast pace;
- find the most comfortable position;
- hum your favorite song mentally;
- invite loved ones to the event;
- admit to the audience that you are scared (it is important to do this only once!);
You may also like to read: 13 Rules of Communication: Respect Breeds Respect
The ability to find internal resources and energy will help to cope with anxiety and fear of public speaking. Sign up for my personal consultation online and offline. Perhaps this conversation will be the starting point for changes in your life. Don’t worry that one way or another, everyone is worried before reading an important speech. It will take a lot of practice and work on yourself for fear to go away completely and you get pure pleasure from interacting with the public. Learn to step out of your comfort zone more often, speak in front of the public, to different audiences, so that the fear of public speaking ceases to be a problem phobia for you, and the question of how not to be afraid to go on stage and not worry no longer arises.