As you hear your name being announced, you start quivering in fear. Sweaty palms. Dry throat. Weak knees. An overwhelming feeling of nausea. You get the perception that you are on a mission to slay a legendary dragon. Nay! The reality is much worse. You suffer from Glossophobia, which means speech anxiety or the fear of public speaking. Slaying a real-life fire-breathing dragon would actually be a less terrifying task than speaking in front of an audience. As you move towards the stage, conscious of a million eyes upon you that scrutinize every movement and detail, ready to bestow the harshest critiques and cruelest taunts at the merest of mistakes, you feel cold and numb. You can’t feel your hands. Your throat is choked. You drag yourself to the podium, feeling half-dead like a zombie, give a frightened look at the audience and let out a whimper- “G-g-g-good m-m-morning all”
This traumatizing experience is common amongst many people who suffer from Glossophobia. Just the thought of going on the stage makes most people break into a sweat. Though the only way to cure yourself of this affliction and instil confidence is regular practice and making frequent public speeches, there are 5 mantras that are immensely helpful in helping you overcome stage fright:
1. “Being a little shameless never harmed anyone”
Yes. You read that right. This doesn’t mean that you should start exhibiting vulgar behavior while on the stage, but demonstrate the willingness to take into stride any ensuing laughter or hooting from the audience. Once you get the ability to laugh at yourself, the audience will laugh along with you. Make some self-effacing jokes or use general humor to break the ice.
2. “Don’t flee away by the shore rather row against the tide”
Do not be overwhelmed by the situation. Even if the odds are against you or the audience is hostile, turn it to your favor by improvising and adapting.
3. “I believe in my content, and so does the audience”
Always do proper research and have confidence in your content. If you can deliver your message across with aplomb then the audience will also have faith in your content.
4. “I am the king of the stage, and the audience are my subjects”
When you speak on the stage, you own it. You address a large group which latches on to every word you utter, listening with rapt attention. Consider this similar to the medieval times when the king addressed his subjects and they listened to him eagerly, with utmost reverence and respect. Once you adopt that mindset, nothing can stop you from conquering your stage fright.
5. “Speaking energizes and excites me”
Make the mic your best friend, and the podium your ship where you are the numero uno, the captain who will sail it through difficult waters. Treat public speaking as a blank canvas where you can use a repertoire of skills to narrate amusing anecdotes, emotionally uplifting incidents, and tales that will leave the audience filled with awe and wonder. Be excited about the prospect of sharing your knowledge and experiences with a large group, among which there will probably be individuals who can relate to it on a personal level. Always think of the chance to make a difference in the lives of people through public speaking.
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