Most people say that they fear coming onto the stage, facing others, and speaking in front of them. And most people here are 99% of the world’s population. One survey said that people would rather die than face others and speak. It is the number one fear in the world, as per Google.
In fact, you won’t believe but even the world’s greatest leaders had stage fear. People like Mahatma Gandhi, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, all admitted to having stage fear.
Talking here about one personal story that I have to share on this topic. A few years ago, when I was a student, my Business Communications faculty asked all the students to come one by one and speak impromptu on the stage on whatever topic they found suitable. What the professor wouldn’t have expected was that the entire class spoke on the topic of “stage fear”.
People selected this topic because when our professor asked the students to come onto the stage, the first thought that came to everyone’s mind was stage fear.
However, if we keep all these reasons aside, wouldn’t it be great if something that everyone fears becomes your strength? How easy would it be to climb up in life if we come under that top 1% of people who do not fear facing the crowd at all? After all, isn’t there space always at the top and crowded at the bottom?
An organizational structure is like a pyramid. While there are so many people on the bottom, there is always space at the top. Once you get to this skill, you will reach the top faster than you think. And this is so very important to distinguish yourself from others especially when the company coming to recruit you will have 10 other applicants with similar backgrounds and schooling.
So, what are the 3 ways in which you can overcome your stage fear?
1. Practice and practice. It is said that the closer to get to your fear, the more it disappears. For example, initially, you fear talking in front of 10 people, but once you do that 5 times, you start feeling comfortable. Then your fear becomes speaking in front of 20 people. Once you do that you start fearing speaking in front of 40 people. Hence you see every time to practice, you expand your limits.
2. Listen to other speakers. In today's age of technology and youtube, access to the best of speeches and speakers is available with a click away. Nearly every public presentation Steve Jobs ever gave--as far back as the original Macintosh product launch in 1984--is available for streaming. All the speeches of Steve Jobs, Franklin Roosevelt, and Barack Obama are available on the web. The more you see, the more you grasp and the more you learn.
3. The most important thing is to realize that your fear is < purpose. My purpose here is to share a message and if that is more important than my fear, I will be able to overcome the fear. And your purpose could be anything: to entertain the audience, inspire, share, motivate the audience, promote a product, make others excited, pitch an idea, meet investors, and share your experience of being in the company with your superiors. You need these at all times.