When helping executive coaching clients deal with Presentation Anxiety (the technical term for stage fright) here’s the process I use:
- Identify the specific causes of PA – they vary by person and situation. Most of the causes involve fear – fear of forgetting, fear of not being prepared, fear of looking stupid, etc.
- For each identified specific cause, determine what you can do to minimize it, but don’t try to eliminate it. So, for the fear of not being prepared, the ‘minimizer’ is … do your homework and be prepared. For the fear of technical problems, the ‘minimizer’ is to not rely that much on technology, arrive early to check everything out and have a back up plan … just in case.
- For your level of PA symptoms remaining after applying the ‘minimizers, ‘mask’ them as much as possible. The audience only knows what they see and hear, so consciously do and say things that project confidence and avoid saying or doing those things that detract from it.
This ‘Minimize what you can and Mask the rest’ approach does work, but it takes time and effort to net the results you want. Enjoy the trip.