Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking & Stage Fright

Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking & Stage Fear

Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking & Stage Fright

Written By: Kelly Chan Jia Li, Clinical Psychologist (MAHPC(CP)00353)

Public speaking—two words that can strike terror into the hearts of many. Whether presenting in a meeting, giving a toast at a wedding, or speaking in front of a larger audience, the fear of public speaking is a common struggle.

But fear not! Overcoming this fear is not only possible but can lead to enhanced self-confidence and improved communication skills. This article will delve into the roots of public speaking fear and explore practical strategies to overcome the fear.

Stage fright
The What: Exactly, What is Stage Fear?

Glossophobia (commonly known as stage fear) refers to the anxiety and nervousness that you experience when you have to perform or speak in front of an audience. In fact, research has shown that approximately 75% of people experience some level of anxiety when speaking in public. Therefore, if you have stage fear, you may feel anxious, self-conscious, or nervous when speaking in public, which can impact your ability to communicate effectively.

The Why: Roots of the Fear
Fear of Judgment: The Spotlight Effect
Stage fright

Imagine you are standing on a stage with all eyes on you. You fear that everyone is watching and judging every move you make. You may worry about how you will be perceived, fearing that the audience will scrutinise every word, gesture, or expression. This fear of being the centre of attention can be overwhelming. This heightened self-consciousness is often referred to as the “spotlight effect.”

If you are struggling with identify the cause of your stage fear, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Soul Mechanics KD or Soul Mechanics Ipoh. Asking for help is a strength that leads to healing.

Fear of Failure: The What-Ifs

The fear of failure and the “what-if” scenarios play a significant role in public speaking anxiety. Imagine you are about to give a presentation, and having thoughts like “What if I forget my lines?” or “What if I make a mistake?” start racing through your mind. You may be worried about stumbling over words, losing your train of thought, or not meeting the expectations of the audience.

Past Negative Experiences: Lingering Shadows

Past negative experiences, such as a poorly received presentation or an embarrassing moment in front of an audience, can leave lasting scars and contribute to the fear of public speaking. The fear is fueled by the shadows of past mistakes, making it challenging to step back into the limelight.

Stage fright
The How: Overcoming the Fear
Facing the Fear

Public speaking fear often stems from various sources, and understanding the root causes of your anxiety is crucial to addressing them effectively. Reflect on past experiences, assess any negative beliefs, and recognise that these fears are common among many individuals.

Normalising Anxiety

It is essential to acknowledge that feeling nervous before speaking in public is a normal human response. Even experienced speakers will experience a degree of anxiety. Recognising that this anxiety is a natural part of the process can help normalise the experience and reduce its intensity.

Preparation Techniques: Practice, Practice, Practice!
stage fright

Think of practising your speech as rehearsing for a play. The more you practice, the more comfortable you become with your material. Practice in front of a mirror, record yourself or rehearse with a trusted friend. Familiarity with your content will boost your confidence and help you deliver a more polished presentation.

Focus on the Process, Not Perfection

Picture this: You stumble over a word while sharing your work experiences with your colleagues. Instead of getting flustered, embrace the imperfection. Instead of viewing them as failures, see them as opportunities for growth. Embrace the idea that making mistakes is a normal part of the learning process. Your audience is likely to find your genuine reactions endearing, making you more relatable.

Soul Mechanic’s Takeaway: Let’s Unmask the Fear

Public speaking need not be a terrifying ordeal. By understanding the root causes of stage fear and adopting a proactive approach, you have the power to transform your anxiety into a source of empowerment. Remember, public speaking is a skill that improves with practice and experience. Embrace the process, learn from each experience, and watch your fear transform into confidence, one speech at a time.

If you feel that you are experiencing difficulties with public speaking or stage fear, feel free to reach out to our Kota Damansara and Ipoh branch for further information. Seeking assistance can be the first stepping stone towards healing.

If you enjoyed reading this, why not broaden the horizon of knowledge by learning about "Therapeutic Modalities for Anxiety"?
You can read the blog here.

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