Just got into town for a big presentation? You may well be experiencing that sinking feeling we often call "pre-presentation jitters."

The first thing to realize is that stage fright symptoms seem more severe to the speaker. Start by taking a positive and aggressive attitude about speaking. The first moment that you are asked to give a presentation, respond with, "I'd be honored." Keep in mind that a confident, aggressive approach to presentational speaking keeps most imagined fears from becoming a reality. Next, take the time to prepare for your presentation. Some experts suggest that as much as 75 percent of speech anxiety can be avoided through adequate preparation.

Making the time to prepare for your presentation may be easier said than done, but it is worth it. You will feel more comfortable and confident when you deliver a well-prepared speech. Let's look at some specific approaches for overcoming stage fright. Different techniques will work for different people.


This technique uses a simple three-step formula to cope with your stage fright.

Become aware.

Be aware of what is happening to you when you are fearful. Once you are sensitized to your fear, it is easier for you to stop your fear from escalating. Even panic, which occurs without warning, can be curtailed when you recognize what is happening to you. Pay attention to physical symptoms such as your breathing pattern and your muscle tension. Your body tells you how nervous or relaxed you feel.

Accept the emotion.

Accept fear as being valid, and don't feel guilty or foolish or inferior because of it. To insist that it should not be happening to you is going to make you more fearful. Instead, when fear comes, welcome it. Consider it a form of energy that can motivate you to better prepare prior to a presentation and make you a more enthusiastic speaker during your presentation.

Act on it.

After you become aware of and accept fear, you need to act on it. Do something different. Do not become a passive recipient of a feeling you dread. If you don't know what to do to curb your fear, try any different behavior. With some experience, you will be able to identify more specifically what action curtails your fear.

Rational Emotive Theory

Rational emotive theory, first developed by Robert Ellis, states that you can control your emotions, including fear and anxiety, through your thoughts. The crux of theory is that you can deliver a winning presentation by thinking through the situation ahead of time. Take the following steps to use the rational emotive theory to deal with your fear of speaking.


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