Ella Fitzgerald, Jim Morrison, Laurence Olivier, and even Cher have all suffered from stage fright, or the feeling of dread before you must appear in front of an audience. The same thing can occur with presentations, which can reduce even the most confident into a pile of butterflies. Here are five approaches to handling these painful jitters before your next event:
1. Work Out
A post-workout release of endorphins is a real thing, and it can last for hours after an exercise. Why does this occur? When you exercise, your brain releases two proteins called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) and endorphins. Both are a response to stress and are protective and reparative proteins that give us the “it’s all going to be okay” feeling. This can last for up to 12 hours in some people, which is huge incentive for getting in some exercise before a presentation.
2. Lie to Everyone
Or rather, don’t tell the total truth. If you share your anxiousness, you may start to dwell on it. Paint on a false smile and talk others into believing that you’re going to do great; the positive energy they respond with will also help you convince yourself. Revealing your anxiousness can only have a snowball effect, so it’s better stick with a lie.
3. Think of Clones
The classic stage fright advice is to imagine the audience in their underwear. However, this will probably make you feel more nauseated than confident. As an alternative, think of one person in your life that you love. Someone who wouldn’t judge you if you tripped down some stairs or ripped your pants in front of, etc. Now imagine that this person is populating the entire audience, radiating their love and best wishes, eager to see you do a great job.
4. The BRAT Diet
To reduce anxiety, don’t go into a presentation on an empty stomach. But what can you eat that won’t make you toss your cookies? The BRAT diet is the perfect solution: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, & Toast. It’s the common solution for upset stomachs because it is low in fiber and will sooth stomach and intestine lining for speakers who tend to feel sick before an event.
5. Have a Lengthy Conversation With Yourself
Spend some time alone before your presentation and give yourself a rousing pep talk. Only focus on the positive and be as ridiculous as necessary. “You’re going to change the entire world, end hunger, and be crowned king.” A little exaggeration will help boost your mood, even if you don’t feel like a potential king.
Embrace that you are going to feel anxious before speaking in front of an audience, most everyone does. But once you have embraced the idea, work through it using these five purposeful tips.
Question: How can you reduce stage fright during your next presentation?
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