How is stage fright noticeable?

Nina Dušić Hren Public speaking

Although mostly unaware, people are very good at reading body language. While most people would correctly detect a speaker dealing with stage fright, when asked what makes them think so, you’d have a hard time getting an answer.

Stage fright can be evident right from the start. Does a speaker confidently wait for a few seconds, do they take a deep breath, look at the audience before they start speaking? Or do they start speaking before the applause ends and while some members of the audience are still chatting? By doing so, the speaker is letting everyone know that whatever it is that they are sharing, isn’t important enough to require attention.

However, stage fright also becomes evident at the conclusion. As most performers bow their heads upon receiving applause and quickly make their way back to their seats. Almost like they’re glad to the ordeal is over and done with. Others, confidently wait for applause, nod with a grin on their face as they continue to thank the audience. They embrace the applause and show they are confident in what they’ve prepared. A good example are actors in stage plays who keep coming back on stage for as long as the audience keeps applauding.

During the speech, stage fright can be noticed in form of low volume speech that fails to make an impression and with self-soothing gestures. When under stress, it is our natural habit to “stroke” particular body parts to warm them up and comfort them. Much like comforting a crying baby. This can be done by squeezing lips, rubbing palms, or face.

Managing stage fright requires a lot of continuous practice. So we get used to the excitement a public performance brings. Focusing on arms, getting on and off stage can only make matters worse. We should improve things one at a time.

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