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Stage Fright!

Stage Fright is a much used term these days. In fact, almost every professional is required to design and deliver powerful presentations while confidently facing the audience. The basic question remains – What is Stage Fright? And how does one overcome it?

Stage Fright begins with certain overt and physical symptoms. These include trembling of the hands, quavering of the legs, dryness of the throat, or just a feeling of the mind going completely blank. One needs to understand that these are only early signs of stage fright. If stage fright is controlled in its early stage it can be prevented from transforming itself into a strong and very real fear of the audience. In fact the speaker must take positive steps to overcome this situation.  Here is what can be done:
  1. Prepare: This is the first and most important way to overcome stage fright. Inadequate preparation is in fact an invitation to stage fright. Never make a presentation without full preparation. 
  2. Practice: It is said practice makes perfect. Practice is that part of preparation, where the presenter not only creates a beautiful PowerPoint – but he also well rehearses it before an imaginary audience. In fact, good presenters anticipate and answer all sorts of questions to fully prepare themselves.
  3. Focus on the opening:  Well begun is half done. Since stage fright is generally at its maximum in the beginning, a good opening will ensure that you catch the audience interest and attention.  That will do work wonders with your confidence.
  4. Interest in the subject matter: A speaker must have strong interest in his subject. Any speaker who is disinterested or half-hearted, can hardly expect his audience to listen to him intently.
  5. Shift focus of attention: Some presenters are always worried about doing a good job at the presentation. Rather the speaker should focus on the audience’s requirements. What do they need? Why have they gathered to hear him speak? How are they responding to his communication? A positive focus on these questions will enable him to gain greater confidence as the presentation rolls along.
Someone has said that stage fright and confidence are two sides of the same coin. You turn one and the other appears. So the next time you are feeling a little nervous, tell yourself your feeling confident, and believe me you may quite be able to work things out. Remember, it only takes one really good presentation to take your communication skills to the level of a public speaker.

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