How to Overcome Stage Fright
Sharon Sinnott, faculty member and Director of the Babson College Speech Center, took center stage for Thursday’s lunch-and-learn workshop. The Speech Center assists the entire Babson community, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni, enhance their verbal communication skills. This is a critical resource for anyone preparing a speech or presentation. It is advantageous to practice in front of various audiences, so students looking to work with the Speech Center should schedule meetings with a different advisor each time. Doing so will provide the most helpful and comprehensive feedback.
A large portion of the session covered strategies for overcoming stage fright. It is widely-known that public speaking is America’s greatest fear- even more feared than death! This can be traced back to the fear of the unknown, which puts you into the “fight or flight” mindset. After reaching this point, you can forget to breathe. This restricts the brain’s flow of oxygen, reducing its ability to function, which therefore increases the likeliness of making a mistake.
To stop this vicious cycle before it begins, you must determine what exactly scares you and find a strategy to overcome it. For example, if you are worried about making a mistake, you should practice often, double check the accuracy of the information beforehand, and choose not to bring attention to mistakes made during the presentation.
Sharon also relayed the importance of preparing for an important speech. She taught us the Five P’s of Success: “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” With thoughtful preparation (and lots of practice!), we can all be powerful public speakers.