18 tips on how to overcome stage fright and present confidently

Ways to overcome stage fright, the fear of public speaking
Stage fright

Stage fright


Recommendations on the test bench. Not only the recommendation to use alcohol to reduce stage fright, fear of speaking, and performance anxiety quickly backfire. Here are 18 more beneficial tips to manage presentation nerves.

Not everyone is happy about stage fright


Film director Michael Bay can tell you a thing or two about how stage fright can manifest itself in front of an audience. In his films like Transformers, it gets wild. But at the presentation of a new television set, he had to flee from the stage because of a defective teleprompter. He lacked the words. Such a blackout is rarely a pleasure! The primeval mechanism is in all of us. In exceptional situations, it should help us to ensure our survival. So it is well-meant by evolution but rarely turns out to be helpful in today’s world. Speakers in balance are more convincing. I will help you to feel comfortable during your presentation.

What is stage fright?


When stage fright is felt, adrenaline and noradrenaline are released by the adrenal cortex. Typical consequences are a nervous feeling in the stomach area, the heart is beating faster, the knees become weaker, the hands moist. An unpleasant cycle begins. The reptilian brain is alert to danger and wants to improve our chances of survival. Good intentions, but…



Symptoms of stage fright


Typical symptoms that sufferers experience:

  • Increased heartbeat
  • Wet hands
  • Dry mouth
  • Urge to urinate
  • Discomfort


Symptoms that can be seen from the outside:

  • Blushing
  • Hectic speaking
  • Unsteady movements
  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Shaky voice

Good to know: Most of the time, the audience is far less aware of this than those affected fear.

Causes of stage fright


Possible causes for stage fright are:

  • Perfectionism
    Those who want to be perfect often achieve the opposite by doing so. So tense, it becomes more difficult.
  • Poor or no adequate preparation
  • Inexperience
  • Lack of routine takes up a large part of the attention.
  • An unpleasant experience in the past
    Early traumatic experiences often play a role, especially in cases of very intense stage fright and fear of speaking. You do not have to consciously remember them, and they do not have to have happened in a real performance situation. The human unconscious has its own opinions and ways of protecting us from potential dangers.
  • Fear of rejection
  • Low self-confidence
    Brooding, doubt, and self-deprecation do not encourage one to feel comfortable in front of an audience.
  • Fear of failure
    In their minds, some people construct disaster scenarios that even horror movies can hardly keep up with.
  • Obstructive convictions and beliefs
    We are usually not aware of them, and they seem to be all the more influential in the background.
  • Self-sabotage
  • Bad habits
  • Too much caffeine and …
    This gives the body additional stimulation and intensifies the symptoms, and the nervousness after a pot of coffee increases.
  • Fear of Murphy’s Law

Household remedies to take away stage fright and speech anxiety


Many secret recipes are supposed to help with stage fright. Some of them do more harm than good, though.

Frequently heard recommendations:

  • Practice, practice, practice.
    Yes, and please properly and not forcefully.
  • Memorize the whole speech
    This will not be a pleasure for the audience and will cause you even more stress if you just don’t want to forget a word.
  • Teleprompter
    So does Barack Obama. Whether this can be adequately realized in your situations remains questionable.
  • Making friends with stage fright
    In principle, this is true, but there are limits to what can be achieved.
  • Arrive early and relaxed at the venue
    A very good idea.
  • Put all text on PowerPoint slides.
    Instead, it would be better to distribute your message by e-mail and stay at home.
  • Relaxation techniques
    Yeah, a good idea for the prep. There is a wide range of choices, you will find a suitable relaxation technique.
  • Meditate
  • Chewing gum
    Welcome to the Wild West. Beware in Europe.
  • Bring the magic rabbit’s foot or any other amulet.
    I have no experience in sorcery and I could not find any approved studies about it.
  • Ignore stage fright, just don’t think about it.
    Easier said than done!
  • Pretend you don’t have stage fright.
    Someone said, “Stage fright is an attempt to pretend you don’t have stage fright.” But that shouldn’t lead to more pressure because you feel you have to pretend.
  • Start the speech with a very funny joke
  • Move back and forth a lot in front of the audience to relieve stress.
    This will neither please the audience nor benefit your mental condition.

18 tips to dissolve and relieve stage fright


There are numerous tips for dealing with stage fright. However, although they will usually bring some relief if the anxiety is deeper-seated, they will probably have a short-term effect. It is then much more recommendable to deal with the resolution of intense stage fright and speech anxiety with professional help.

1. Practice, practice, practice


Good preparation is essential in the case of stage fright. You need to practice as much as necessary before the performance or public speaking.

Good preparation is essential in the case of stage fright. However, it is not just a question of frequency. Especially very frequent rehearsals can further aggravate the situation if they are unfavorable.

The justified impression of being well-prepared is good for self-confidence. Pressure and perfection hurt.




2. Develop a routine


It helps to develop a routine and to become familiar with performance situations. This works for stage fright, but not to the same extent for speech anxiety. This requires psychotherapeutic support.




3. Do not dress up


Wear comfortable clothes. Make sure that you feel comfortable in your clothes and do not dress up. Otherwise, you will not feel comfortable, and the audience will see that. If you do not wear high heels otherwise, it is better to avoid wearing them on stage. Otherwise, it will be very shaky and the others will probably have more fun than you.




4. Keep calm


Don’t rush your speech or presentation. Start slow and allow yourself time to get into a comfortable pace. Take your time to get used to the audience, and offer the audience the necessary time to get used to you. You could do that by starting with a story. Storytelling is not only helpful at that moment.




5. Don’t apologize for being nervous


Most of the time, no one in the audience will notice you are nervous. Why should you tell them? You may feel yourself shaking and shivering, while your audience might not be aware of it. Don’t mention it. It will make your audience nervous too.




6. Support


Look for professional support. Let us help you maintain your condition management, uncover causes, and reduce their influence. There are coaches with the appropriate psychological-therapeutic training and the necessary certification.




7. Physical activity


Stress can be reduced by supporting movements, gestures, and facial expressions. The appropriate use of body language improves both one’s own condition and the effect on the audience. A change of location can also serve the message if it serves a strategy.




8. Maintain posture


Body language affects not only observers but also ourselves. Rely on body postures that serve the management of the condition. A good posture is not a matter of course, this also requires practice.

In addition, there is a connection with sovereign posture and mental security. So-called “Power Postures” are even supposed to have an impact on our body chemistry. Use this!




9. Breathing


Many people underestimate the effect of breathing. The use of appropriate breathing techniques is very helpful. Nervousness is accompanied by fast, short breaths and if this is not addressed, it will throw you off balance.




10. Self-programming


Constructive autosuggestion and self-programming are much more conducive than negative self-talk. Inner dialogues are often more hurtful than the most devastating criticism of other people.




11. Hypnobalancing™


If nothing else helps: Hypnobalancing™ offers proven techniques for resolving intense stage fright and speech or performance anxiety, as well as promoting helpful mental states.

12. Professional feedback


Very few speakers can realistically assess their impact themselves. How do you make an impact, what potential is waiting to be awakened? Professional feedback gives you the necessary feedback and hints on what you can improve.




13. Mental training


Mental training is intensive virtual training in which you experience without risks, release blockages, and strengthen your confidence.




14. Plan B


Having a few backup strategies in place is reassuring. Knowing what is possible even in a blackout gives a good feeling.




15. Be confident in dealing with technology


Use modern technology for the presentation. It can all be quite simple, but often it is not. Even using a teleprompter is not as easy as it looks. Beat Murphy and get ready. Double-check everything in advance.




16. Have encouragement in the audience


Bring a person of trust to the opportunity to speak, actual, or virtual. That feels good. For very important speeches, I sometimes sit in the audience of my clients.




17. Structure


Whether you call it workflow, structure, procedure, or rituals, it makes things easier. Familiar processes relieve the mind. Checklists, if necessary at least in your imagination, provide security.




18. Positive anchors


From chaos to calm. Set positive mental anchors for good conditions yourself or with support. Safety, confidence, quick-wittedness, humor,… Your choice! Learn from Pavlov and the dogs.

The anchor serves as a reminder or a trigger. The simplest way to explain an anchor is to think of it as a link to an emotional state.

Help with stage fright


If you want to be successful, then you are challenged in many places to speak and present effectively, to convince and to fight for your ideas. Unfortunately, many people remain silent because they suffer from enormous stage fright. Stage fright can have a stimulating effect. But sometimes fear outweighs and the person falls silent. So many people hold back with their ideas. This is a pity, especially if someone has something valuable to contribute.

Does stage fright or performance anxiety block you and thwart your ambitions? Then get active! It is possible to dissolve your fear of public speaking.

Since 1998 I have been helping people to present themselves and their messages convincingly. During this time I have helped many speakers with intense stage fright. Because it is sometimes more than just stage fright, I have the necessary therapeutic approval. You will be in good hands with me - if you want to enjoy your performances in front of your audience.

You can judge for yourself where the effort is worth it concerning the expected benefit. Here you can find the fees for my support.

In case you are not in Berlin right now, choose meetings with me via telephone or video support. Whereby there are quite good reasons for a trip to Berlin.

Benefit from my experience in marketing, psychology, and communication. Find out more about me in my profile.

Preparation of important speeches and presentations


Those who do not speak are not heard, and even those who speak up are not always successful. There are a few more steps that need to be mastered.

Do you want to convince with your message and also as a personality? Then I will help you to prepare your speeches and presentations. You determine the scope. At least, I recommend a test run with professional feedback for you and your message. Then you will know how you and your content are perceived, what you should do, and what you should leave out, where there is potential. Why do you want to get such helpful feedback so late after your real performance? Then it is too late for adjustments. Benefit from the advantage. My definition of luck: Preparation meets opportunity.

You can best estimate for yourself where the effort is worthwhile concerning the expected benefit. Here you will find the fees for my support (communication, psychology, language, structure, voice, body language, storytelling, rhetorical means, media such as PowerPoint and Co., etc.)

You are not in Berlin right now? Then choose meetings with me via telephone or video support. Whereby, there are quite good reasons for a trip to Berlin.

By the way, many people suffer from such intense stage fright in front of an audience, and therefore their performance lags behind their possibilities. Too bad, because with my help performance in a good condition is possible. Just in case...

Just ask me personally


Please post any questions that may be of interest to other readers in the comments. Looking for professional help?

If you are interested in coaching, training or consulting, if you have organizational questions, or if you want to make an appointment, you can reach me best via this contact form (you can choose whether you want to enter your personal data) or via e-mail (mail@karstennoack.com). You can also reach me by phone at +49(0)30 864 213 68 or by cell phone at +49(0)1577 704 53 56 from Monday to Thursday from 9:00 to 18:00. Most of the time I am in meetings, so please leave a message with your phone number in Germany. Please remember to be very specific about the reason for your call. I will get back to you as soon as possible. The privacy policy can be found here.

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Speech anxiety as an obstacle for your career

Stage fright is a common experience, most people know the queasy feeling as well as the sweaty fingers, and that is already unpleasant enough. But what if speech anxiety becomes a career killer?

This article is a short excerpt from the more comprehensive course materials my clients receive in a group or individual training or coaching.

Published: May 1, 2020
Author: Karsten Noack
Revision: May 1, 2020
Translation: ./.
German version: https://www.karstennoack.de/alkohol-hilft-bei-lampenfieber/

error: Copyright