Stage fright, a lot of us have it, some lucky few don’t. For those of the latter, learning to overcome it is hard. As an engineer, you might not think you have to worry about stage fright, but it comes in many forms, namely, speaking to your bosses and higher ups, talking to clients, and taking the lead in meetings. You will eventually have to overcome all 3 situations eventually, since stage fright can really hinder our professional growth.
We as humans have stage fright because we are naturally afraid of our reputations being ruined by our actions. Thoughts like “What will they think of me?” “How will they judge me?” always linger at the back of our mind.
So how do we overcome it, well, here are 3 steps to get you started:
The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to screw up. A musician doesn’t learn their song a few minutes or even an hour before they perform.
How you prepare is all up to you. You can outline your speech and take notecards with you. You can draw out a storyboard. You can memorize what you’re going to say, etc. Just choose what you find the easiest and most efficient, and prepare at least a day before, if possible.
Practice like it’s the real thing
As much as possible, we have to practice as if it’s actually going to happen already. This gets rid of any unpredictable variables that you might’ve not realized until you set it up. Make sure to keep your focus on connecting with the audience and the way you deliver your speech. Don’t get distracted by what slide is coming up next or what your boss is whispering about to your other boss.
Also, it helps to say your presentation to someone else, and ask them for feedback.
Almost everyone agrees that the most stressful part of the presentation is the few minutes before it. In that time, you have to keep yourself calm and confident so you don’t mess up. You can get rid of the anxiousness by breathing in deeply. Put your hands on your sides, stretch your arms out, bend backwards a little, and breathe in and out through your diaphragm. Repeat until you feel calm enough to move forward.