Overcoming Stage Fright

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Stage Fright

Stage fright is the term used to describe a state of fear or anxiety that precede or accompany an activity that involves presenting yourself to public.

Stage fright is not caused by a single factor but there many factors that are responsible for this anxiety you experience when you face audience.

My approach in dealing with stage fright is the same as my approach in dealing with public speaking, which is isolating every possible cause then dealing with it on a separate basis. The result will be a better performance and a greater reduction of fears.

What Causes Stage fright?

The following is a list of possible causes for stage fright:

  • Having a self image problem
  • perfectionism
  • self consciousness
  • fear of embarrassment
  • Being afraid that people notice that you are afraid
  • fear of being judged in a bad way
  • Improper breathing
  • Cant remember what you are going to say

Overcoming stage Fright

What I am going to do now is explore the previous points, one by one, then tell you how to overcome each one of them. More than one of these reasons may be causing your stage fright but even if you were able to get over only one of them you will experience a big improvement.

Stage Fright and Self Image

What most people never think about is that sometimes the real cause for stage fright is having a poor self image. What do you think of your looks? Do you think that you are handsome? What do you think will be the first impression people form of you?

People who have a poor self image believe that others wont like their looks even if they were really handsome.

In the Solid Self confidence program i said that when someone with poor self image stands in front of the audience his subconscious mind becomes occupied thinking about the way the audience will rate his looks. This leaves a little processing room for his mind to perform well and so the result is experiencing anxiety.

If you think that you have a poor self image then know that dealing with this self image problem is what can help you in getting over stage fright.

Stage Fright and Perfectionism

Have you heard of a human who never makes mistakes?
Of course everyone knows that humans make mistakes but there is a category of people who think that humans should never make mistakes.

Perfectionists think that they should never make mistakes and that’s why they become so anxious when they face audience. Making a mistake is a catastrophe for a perfectionist simply because he lacks self confidence and he thinks that making a mistake would make him imperfect and vulnerable.

If perfectionism is your problem then make sure you start building your self confidence now and your stage fright may disappear.

Stage fright and self consciousness

Self consciousness is being occupied with oneself to an extent that prevents you from performing well or on focusing on what you are doing. Self consciousness is a big topic, but if you want to know how to get over it then check out this guide.

Stage Fright and Fear of Embarrassment

Embarrassment in this case could be forgetting what you are going to say, mispronouncing a word or even making a stupid move while performing.

Embarrassment is usually a way of thinking and not a real thing, it all depends on your beliefs that are related to making mistakes. If you want to get over embarrassment then check out this guide

Afraid that people notice that you are afraid

This point is a bit tricky; You might be afraid that people may notice that you are afraid.

This self reinforcing cycle will end as soon as you learn how to control your fears. By learning more about body language you can learn how to hide your feelings and how to show the feelings you want. By using body language you can appear to be confident even if you were afraid.

Stage Fright and fear of being criticized

People fear criticism while speaking in public because they imagine unrealistic scenarios in their heads.

For example some people imagine that everyone will laugh at them while they perform. This type of fear can disappear as soon as the first few minutes pass without problems.

Stage fright and improper breathing

Proper breathing can remove almost half of the anxiety you are experiencing. Usually people don’t breath well when they are anxious. Breathing deeply will allow oxygen to reach your brain and so you will experience a great relief.

Cant remember what you are going to say

Practice is the perfect solution to the problem of forgetting what you are going to say.

But why do sometimes people forget things even if they studied them by hard?
When you become anxious you don’t usually access all of your brain’s resources and that's why you might forget the things you already know. By breathing properly and by applying any relaxation technique you will be able to eliminate this problem.

Final words on Stage Fright

Stage fright is not the cause but it’s the symptom for other underlying problems. I may have not covered all possible causes but I think you now know the approach. Find the real reasons and deal with them. Only then your stage fright will disappear.

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