If you imagine yourself giving a speech, singing, dancing, or otherwise addressing a group of people, do you already feel tense with trembling and sweaty palms? Does the thought of doing anything where an audience is watching you make you feel nauseous? Have you ever wondered if there is any way to recover from performance anxiety so that you can do these things without the physical discomfort and emotional distress?
Also often referred to as “stage fright”, performance anxiety is something that the majority of people have experienced in their lifetimes. Few people can honestly claim that they didn’t feel butterflies in their stomach when giving their lines in the school play, or that they didn’t experience jitters before that speech that was an important part of their grade. Even a job interview in front of a group of people can be very stressful. However, unlike what many people seem to believe, performance anxiety isn’t something that simply goes away once you leave school. Many adults continue to suffer from performance anxiety and its many symptoms throughout their lives.
Work presentations, struggles entertaining at home, or even speaking to store managers about a complaint you have about service you’ve received can all be extremely daunting for people with performance anxiety. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to help yourself to stay cool throughout your performance, whatever it may be.
Steps to Overcome Performance Anxiety
Step 1: Be prepared and remind yourself that you’ve done your best to be ready. Don’t let yourself forget that you’ve done what you can to know your stuff, practice to learn the order of things, and that all you need to do now is do exactly what you’ve practiced. Let go, and go ahead with it, never forgetting to breathe.
Step 2: Concentrate and don’t let yourself become distracted. Don’t look at people in your audience who may be whispering to one another, texting on their cellular phones, or doing anything else for that matter. Their actions may be entirely unrelated to you. Choose a spot at the back of the room just above the heads of the people in the room and look there so that you can focus on your presentation. If you’d rather make eye contact, find a few friendly attentive faces and alternate among them instead of looking over the entire crowd.
Step 3: Try to see if you can actually enjoy yourself. Become interested and show how enthusiastic you are about your topic and it will be catching!