Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How to Reduce Stage Fright After the Speech is Over

To my readers who are public speakers: I have a guest post today for you from Ryan Rivera, who is an expert in anxiety disorders.  He introduces an important contributing factor to speaker's stage fright that had not occurred to me... that is, what you do AFTER you speak. Ryan says...
Stage fright is an upsetting issue. You go up there, you talk in front of an audience, and your mind essentially panics. You're afraid of stumbling over the words, you're afraid of the audience, and you're afraid that everything you do is going to be judged. That's why so many people worry about going up in front of an audience and making a presentation, and why a large number of people seek out helpful tips on overcoming these stage fright issues.

Most of these tips tell you what to do before your speech, and possibly even during your presentation. But what you may not realize is what happens after your speech is over may have just as powerful an effect on your fear of public speaking as what happens before and after.

The Post-Speech Anxiety

Much of public speaking is behavioral, based on expectations and the way you judge yourself and your abilities. That's why so many people are effected by what happens after the speech. The presentation is over, and immediately the mind goes to the negative:

• "I screwed up at this part."

• "The audience didn't look like they enjoyed it."

• "That was so scary."

You essentially fill your mind with these negative thoughts, and unfortunately those thoughts end up leading the way to future public speaking anxiety. You essentially convince yourself that public speaking is a fear inducing challenge, and so even if you feel you did well in your speech overall, by the time of your next speaking engagement all of the fears and emotions come running back.

That's why it's important to use strategies to reduce public speaking after your speech is over, to reduce the chance of it coming back. Examples of this include:

• Positive Thinking Techniques

Make sure you're not letting your mind focusing on the negative. No matter how bad you feel your speech was, there are always positives to take away. After your speech is over, write out a list of 10 to 20 genuinely positive things that came from the speech, like "I was able to speak loudly and confidently" so that you aren't focusing only on the "mistakes."

• Running and Anxiety Reduction


It's easy to feel yourself on a high after a speech is over. That high is anxiety, and the faster you get rid of it the better you'll feel. One way is to go running. Others are to start deep breathing techniques that calm the mind and body. Don't let yourself stay anxious – find a way to control it immediately.

• Giving the Speech Again

Replacing your memory can also be effective. You remember the speech that you just gave almost too well. Replace it quickly by going home and giving the speech again, either to yourself or to an audience of a friend or two. Replacing the memory of your last presentation with one that was significantly less stressful can be advantageous for future presentations.

• Don't Over-Celebrate

Finally, there is a tendency for those that gave a good speech to over-celebrate by going out and getting drinks or partying. If possible, try to fall into this trap. In a way, by giving yourself a big celebration for the presentation being over, you're essentially acknowledging to yourself that it was "so difficult" that it's worth being excited that the presentation is complete. Ideally, you want to minimize the importance you give the presentation. Staying active and having fun after a speech is good for coping, but try to avoid celebrations.

Fighting the Fear of Public Speaking

Human beings are social creatures, and social creatures can overcome their public speaking fear with enough practice. Stop this type of anxiety through the tips above and strategies shared on this blog and others, and you'll find that your presentations become extremely easy in the future.

About the Author: Ryan Rivera had severe anxiety that interfered with his abilities as a public speaker. Now he provides general and specific anxiety reduction strategies at his website calmclinic.com . 

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