If you suffer from stage fright, then you know that it can be the worst feeling in the world. Your body trembles, your voice cracks, and you just want to crawl under a rock and die.
So why bother putting yourself in that situation in the first place? The short answer is financial gain.
There is a direct correlation between a person’s ability to confidently speak in public and their income. Those who speak generally make more money than those who don’t.
I know it doesn’t seem fair, especially if you’ve been cursed with stage fright, but I’m not the one who made up the rules, so don’t blame me. It’s just the way things are.
The benefits of being a good public speaker are many. For example:
- Stand out in the workplace
- Are seen as leaders
- Make more sales
- Are viewed as experts in their field
- Get promotions faster
- Are able to influence and persuade
- Are more memorable in their organization
- Appear as being more confident
So, what can you do to stop allowing the fear of public speaking to limit your income potential? The good news is that you are not alone. In fact, most of the successful public speakers, even the professionals, were once where you are now.
It’s not your fault…
Stage fright isn’t unique to you. It’s actually pretty much universal. Sure, some have it more than others but the truth is that stage fright is simply a misfiring of the fight or flight response. It’s your brain telling you that you are approaching a life-threatening situation when in reality, you are not.
Our society has evolved extremely fast throughout the past few thousand years, but our brains failed to keep pace. Back when humans lived in tribal communities, speaking in public may have actually been a life-threatening activity. Anger the tribe, or the tribe of your enemy, by speaking out and you might have risked exclusion from the tribe, which back then would have actually been dangerous.
Nowadays, speaking in public carries almost no life-threatening risk, but your brain doesn’t know that. So, it freaks out and sends a massive amount of unnecessary adrenaline rushing through your body. The result is that you’re left with enough energy to slay a lion, and you’re trying to contain all of that energy while standing still.
It has to leak out somewhere and ends up making you look like a nervous wreck. So what can you do to avoid that response?
Avoiding that response is actually the wrong thing to attempt and that’s why so many would be speakers fail. The real secret is not to try and stop the fight or flight response, but to embrace it. Stopping it all together simply doesn’t work.
How do I know this? Ask any top level speaker if they get a rush of adrenaline before they walk on stage and 99% will tell you yes. You see, it’s not that they’ve learned how to avoid stage fright, it’s that they’ve learned how to manipulate it.
Change your mindset…
Rather than seeing pre-talk nervousness as pre-talk terror, they see it as a pre-talk rush of excitement. All that’s required to pull this off is a switch in your mentality…and a little practice as well.
The next time you’re about to speak in public, just remind yourself that the feelings you’re experiencing are not your own. They are coming from the reptilian part of your brain. The part of your brain that every human has. It is not YOU that is nervous, it is only the part of your brain that is stuck in the past. Thousands of years in the past to be more specific.
The first step to take is to reframe your approach to speaking. For now on, stop thinking, “I can’t believe I HAVE to do this.” Instead, reframe that thought into, “I can’t believe I GET to do this!” I know it sounds simple, but this single step can work wonders to building your onstage confidence.
There are many tips, tricks, and techniques that make accomplishing this mind-shift easier, faster, and more effective. For more information on conquering the fear of public speaking, check out my ebook, “Crush Stage Fright.” Its purpose to help you turn stage-fright into stage-might.
About the author:
Chad Chesmark has been professionally speaking and entertaining on stages for the past 17-years. His fascination with the subconscious mind and hypnosis has inspired him to help those dealing with stage fright through his newsletter and workshops. Chad can be reached for speaking events at http://leadershipmindpower.com/