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Understanding Public Performance Anxiety

Many individuals experience public performance anxiety. This is a relatively common issue that people everywhere seek resolution to. The pressure of having to experience a situation in which you must face a stranger, or a large group of people can be tremendous. Public performance anxiety can happen to any person, at any time. It can even occur with an individual who has done well in the past with this type of performance. Individuals who work in executive corporations may often experience this complication during meetings and training sessions. Those that have a unique talent like singing and playing an instrument may experience this anxiety. Facing a potential employer or school may also cause this to occur. Here, you will be introduced to this form of anxiety and gain an understanding of why it occurs.

The first thing that you should know and understand is that each of us reacts to stress differently. If we are in our “comfort zone”, we are more likely to be more confident when it comes to public performances. If we are out of our “comfort zone”, it is quite likely that the stress of the performance will elevate to the level of extreme stress. Individuals who experience this stress will likely experience high levels of anxiety that may affect them on a mental and physical level. It is not uncommon for an individual to experience sweating, shaking, and even forget what it is that they are suppose to do or say! This is why it is very important to ensure that if you have this issue, you work diligently to find your “comfort zone” in each performance that you engage in.

In addition to “comfort zones”, the overall confidence of an individual is extremely important. Most of us are not simply “born” with high levels of confidence, it must be learned. You should always work to improve your confidence levels. When doing so, you are allowing yourself to experience success in many different situations. Our personality traits are quite relevant when it comes to successfully overcoming public performance anxiety. If we are shy and timid and lack the basic essentials of confidence, we are sure to experience high levels of stress when it comes to performing in front of strangers, or groups of people. If we are outgoing, bubbly, energetic and have a large load of confidence, being able to perform in front of strangers and large groups of people will prove to be just as easy as talking to our best friend!

Relaxation techniques are an important consideration when it comes to overcoming public performance anxiety. By learning to calm your mind and body down prior to a performance, you are more apt to experience success. If you allow yourself to get worked up and extremely stressed, you may find that you quickly experience failure in your endeavors. Each relaxation technique that you use should start with the relatively easy step of breathing slowly and maintaining your composure. This will help soothe both the mind and the body. When you are nervous, it is not uncommon to breathe sporadically. This can result in the body not receiving the proper amount of oxygen that it requires. In addition to this, it can set off a whole spill of complications, like lack of concentration, problems in memory, sweating, and even shaking uncontrollably!

In addition to focusing on breathing, it is important to ensure that you understand when you experience public performance anxiety that the muscles in the body tense up. This is a direct result of the body trying to protect itself from what it believes to be an impending threat. You should convince your body and mind that this is not a threat. Simply change your perspective and outlook on the situation. The opportunity to perform in a public situation is an opportunity in itself. The sooner you realize this, the easier it will be to relax and succeed in your performance. Public performance anxiety is a very common issue, which is not difficult to overcome. By following the advice listed here, you are sure to overcome this obstacle with success!

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Ella Pelayo March 24, 2008, 9:37 am

    It is true that even most confident people or person done well in the past can still have this stage fright.I also want to share with you how to combat this kind of anxiety:
    The first thing that you need to do before you even get close to stepping foot on stage is to be prepared. When you are well prepared, you will feel much better about what you are getting up there to say. Forget about winging it. Winging it is never a good idea, no matter what anyone says.

    If you aren’t completely prepared with notes, cue cards, or papers with the points you need to cover clearly spelled out for you, you are setting yourself up for failure.

  • Kevin March 24, 2008, 9:58 am

    Ella, thanks for this. Someone once said success is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. Preparation certainly enables one to be able to have that sense of being ready which is important in combating stage fright. I agree with you that winging it is not a good idea. Preparation, combined with appropriate stress reduction methods, will ensure a more successful outcome.

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