Perhaps the stage fright – the most common fear of mankind. According to psychologists, about 90% of the world’s inhabitants are subject to it in varying degrees. This negative emotion is based on the most vulnerable moment for the individual – fear of “losing face” before society.
Modern man is designed so that above all he appreciates his reputation. Too much at stake: career, material well-being. No need to discount your own conceit.
People exposed to the fear of the scene, not inclined to choose the type of activity associated with performances in public. It is not only about the stage or public speaking. The ability to speak in front of an audience is necessary for many: a teacher, lawyers, managers, guides … And a well-conducted interview is important for getting any work.
So is it worth it to deprive yourself of vocation and live in captivity of painful fears? Or try to overcome this unreasonable anxiety in the name of a successful future? Our article is for those who choose the latter.
What it is?
Stage fright is an obsessive phobia that a person has as a result of a demand to speak to an audience virtually or virtually (for example, in front of a camera). In psychology, it is called apeirophobia from the Greek peira (test) + Phobos (fear).
The unknown public can cause much more concern than speaking in front of familiar faces. A scene is a conditional concept, implying the presence of listeners. Such a phobia can manifest itself, for example, a student who passes the exam to a group of teachers. It is important to distinguish natural stress from a panic attack, which is characteristic of a true phobia.
Causes of stage fright
In addition to the fear of dropping a reputation, there are several other deep-seated triggering mechanisms for apeirophobia, in particular:
Features of education
If parents teach the child not to stick out, not to get into the center of attention, they involuntarily form such a complex with him. The more authoritative for a kid a person who preaches such principles, the more difficult it will be for him to get rid of this attitude in the future.
Failure in the past
Think if you had a bad experience playing in childhood or adolescence. Such moments usually get stuck in the memory and send impulses of danger every time before going to the “stage”. Perhaps laughter after an incorrectly spoken word or an awkward gesture stuck in your subconscious and over time acquired the dimensions of a real phobia. Try to rethink the negative experience and defeat the desire to return to it again and again.
Most of all, this complex is subject to impressionable, shy people, as well as those prone to self-digging and perfectionism. To defeat stage fright in the presence of such qualities, the struggle should be fought on two parallel fronts: directly against the phobia and against the character trait causing it.
Symptom complex in different people can vary from mild anxiety to serious panic attacks. The nervous system suffers the most from pyrophobia. The brain gives a command to the adrenal glands, which are beginning to actively release adrenaline into the blood. This leads to a whole bunch of physically unpleasant symptoms:
- pupils dilate;
- muscle spasms;
- blood pressure rises, the pulse quickens;
- there are problems with digestion;
- sweating increases;
- difficulty breathing;
- dry mouth, a “lump in the throat.”
If you notice similar symptoms in yourself, the fear of the scene is familiar to you firsthand.
Is it possible to defeat stage fright yourself?
Much depends on motivation and willpower. If you are determined to overcome this complex, just begin to implement the proposed recommendations. It may not be possible to defeat a phobia from the first or second time, but your efforts will not be in vain. If any method does not suit you, try the next one until you find the best option. If you have been raising fear in yourself for years, it is natural that he will not leave at once. Do not despair and continue to fight. Sooner or later you will be able to disrupt the applause of the public.
How not to fight a phobia
One psychologist conducted an interesting experiment. He asked his patients suffering from apeirophobia to write down actions that, in their opinion, help overcome the fear of public speaking. Here are the answers he received:
- Do not look into the eyes of the audience.
- Speak as quickly as possible.
- Skip part of the speech.
- To tell yourself that it will end soon.
- Pretend to have a sore throat.
- Use multiple slides during the presentation.
- Wear happy clothes.
Interesting versions, isn’t it? In fact, acting in this way can only worsen the problem. To defeat stage fright, one should not:
Quick speech knocks breath. Instead of breathing freely, you breathe in and out quickly, making it more difficult for oxygen to flow. This gives a feeling of choking, which increases anxiety and creates panic. Do the opposite. Try to speak at a calm pace, clearly and smoothly.
Ignore the audience
Fearful speeches, people often try to eliminate eye contact with the public, hoping that this will reduce their speech anxiety. Such a tactic is like an ostrich, burying its head in the sand at the sight of the enemy. If you do not look into the eyes of the audience, you can overlook not only a negative but also a positive reaction.
When you have no contact with the audience, you focus on your own thoughts. And if you experience the fear of a scene, your emotions will be obviously more negative than reality. Result? Fear of performances will increase.
Trying to hide nervousness with artificial techniques.
If you pretend to be sick, you cough, hold your hand over your head, you may be asked to postpone the presentation to another day. Then you have to invent something more original.
As you, probably, have already understood, independent attempts to get rid of the stage fright can lead to even more pitiable results. Fear is an insidious emotion. He will invent ways and excuses that will only fuel your phobia.
To break the vicious cycle, use the effective advice of psychologists. Due to the prevalence of the problem, the technique has been thoroughly studied and tested.
How to defeat stage fright once and for all
Prepare yourself thoroughly before performing.
It is advisable to memorize the beginning of speech by heart or to prepare detailed theses. Only skilled speakers can afford to go on stage without preparation. Most speakers have to rehearse. The longer the rehearsal, the more virtuosic the performance. If you are sure that you know the report by note, the excitement will be less.
Conduct a dress rehearsal
Invite close friends or relatives to visit, warning them in advance about your intentions. Speak to them as if they were your colleagues, partners, and bosses. Ask the audience in a gentle manner to make comments, to give helpful words. Ask not to be zealous with strict criticism, otherwise, the fear of the scene will not be overcome. For those who are afraid to speak even before a familiar audience, psychologists are advised to first rehearse in front of a mirror.
Record your speech on video
Looking through the recording, you put yourself in the viewer’s place: you will be able to appreciate the shortcomings and work on correcting them. Do not forget to note the merits and focus on their attention.
Do not miss the chance to speak
This is probably the most painful of all the points, but there is no other way to defeat pyrophobia. Theoretical developments must be translated into reality. Do not forget that any fears recede when the situation becomes familiar. The more often you feel the “atmosphere of the scene”, the less you will be afraid. Do not wait for fate to give you a happy chance to prove yourself, call for a presentation, a lecture, and a presentation.
Do not fall into the trap of perfectionism
Wanting to defeat the fear of the scene, some begin to chase the perfect performance. This is not something to strive for. A living person has the right to make mistakes. As a rule, minor flaws are loyally perceived by the public, as long as she feels that the speaker understands the subject and is well prepared.
Positive attitude – your assistant
Try to replace the fiasco paintings that are drawn in the head with images of success. Think about how to applaud the hall, fans shout: “Bravo”, “Bis”. Hold in the imagination of such a picture until the stage.
Add some humor
Start the talk with a friendly greeting and a smile. This will bring you to the audience from the first minutes, will help to relax. Be sure to insert into your speech a couple of jokes “in the subject”, even if you read a serious report. Laughter is the best antidote to help defeat fear.
Sign up for public speaking courses
A well-delivered speech will certainly be marked by the audience. The chances of success will increase significantly if you do not stutter, remove the words parasites, learn to withstand pauses.
Forgive yourself for mistakes
Fight resolutely with samoing and reflection. If something does not work out this time, then it will turn out the next. Go to a few lectures by different speakers and you will notice that even deserved masters are far from perfect. But they do not complex about this. If you were a student, you probably know that a teacher who knows how to communicate a thought clearly and carry away with her subject is a rarity.
Importance of analysis
It is certainly useful to analyze your performance, but not immediately. It is better to spend the evening after the event for something pleasant. You have done a difficult job and you have done the most important thing, you have overcome fear and come on the stage! Reward yourself for it: watch an interesting film, go for a massage, enjoy a delicious dinner. And debriefing takes care of the next day, with a fresh mind.
Even general idols were subject to pyrophobia. It is known that such celebrities as John Lennon, Barbara Streisand, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, had problems before going on stage, but managed to overcome their fear. Our last advice is to be inspired by their success and follow a bright example.