For those new to the virtual world of webinar presentations, virtual stage fright can be a real fear. Although for those who suffer from stage fright, it can ease your fears a bit if you aren’t on camera and are just speaking to slides and demos. However, in my experience the silence and lack of eye contact from live attendees on a webinar can be difficult for even seasoned public speaking professionals. For many, that lack of in person audience acknowledgement can be tough to gauge interaction and interest.
What causes stage fright? The reasons for having stage fright vary from person to person, but commonly those with stage fright lack self-confidence. Some may have anxiety from being unprepared, forgetting their lines, and being negatively judged by their audience. Stage Fright is at its core a physiological response, commonly referred to as “Fight or Flight.” When presented with a stimulus, our reaction is either excitement or fear. This triggers the release of adrenaline, which gives us a huge boost of energy to stay and fight the stimulus or flight – to run away from the stimulus. The classic symptoms of stage fright – stomach pain, shaking, trembling, vomiting and shortness of breath, are the side effects of this burst of adrenaline coursing through our bodies.
Whether you are giving a live presentation or a virtual one, you are probably wondering, how do I overcome my stage fright? We thought we would share a few easy techniques that if practiced can help you quell your anxiety.
- Get your Sweat on! – This may seem counter intuitive, but redirecting the energy causing your stage fright symptoms to exercise can help focus your energy away from your nerves. Try doing your normal exercise routine that morning to help alleviate some stress, and even right before your presentation, try rubbing your hands together really fast to pass on all your nervous energy.
- Just Breathe. Focus on your breath. Breath deeply, and exhale and inhale at least 15 to 25 times. This will help your mind and body relax.
- Practice your Presentation. Practicing and knowing your speech inside and out will help you feel prepared and less anxious about forgetting your lines. Repeat it until you know it by heart without having to look at your notes.
- Eat Healthy. This may seem like another strange one, but the foods you eat can affect your anxiety level. Avoid drinking caffeine prior to your performance as these will only make you more jittery, also avoid that soda so you don’t accidentally burp halfway through your presentation!
- Drink Water. Drink some water before your presentation to avoid your mouth from going dry – however be careful not to drink too much to avoid feeling like you need to go the bathroom while you are speaking.
In his charming TED talk, graphic designer and folk singer-songwriter Joe Kowan talks about how he beat stage fright. He actually wrote a song about stage fright describing exactly how he was feeling while it was happening, and by exploiting his anxiety and allowing the audience to feel it along with him, he was able to overtime, over come it.
We hope you’ve found this article helpful the next time you are confronted with the old “fight” or “flight” stimulus response. You would think that by now, our bodies would recognize the difference between a virtual presentation and a Grizzly Bear. We are here for you and V2 will do whatever we can to easy your anxiety along the way.
V2 | Virtual Event Manager