Stage fright has been troubling people from the times armorial. One wants to speak to a group, to express himself or herself, they have the ideas and want to share knowledge but the stage fright scares them.
What is stage fright and how does it operate?
I’ll describe six stages of stage fright to explain in totality why and how it takes place. After understanding the root cause of the problem, I will also give suggestions as to how you can avoid stage fright. This video has been prepared for all those friends who are afflicted by the demon called stage fright, but do not know how to avoid, how to overcome or how to conquer this enemy of the human confidence.
It starts no sooner you accept the assignment of making a speech. After confirming, you start thinking why did you agree? You are not a public presentation. What if you tail to come up to the expectation of the audience? You will make a tool of yourself and for no reason. Instead of sitting downer and preparing, you harbor these negative thoughts unmil you get involved in your activities.
These constant negative thoughts start scaring you. You feel something ominous is ahead of you, recollection of the previous occasions when you could not perform well bring a kind of misery. Efforts to prepare the speech even when you sit down to write do not bring positive results. What happens next? What does it lead to?
Fear provoking thoughts make you anxious. The anxiety starts working. It breeds worry making it extremely difficult to prepare a proper speech. For sure, there are more negative thoughts. And that leads the stage 4.
You anxiety is increased with deepening fear and non-preparation. The problem grows and disturbs your logical thinking. But now it’s a point of no return. Some days have passed and there is no way you can come out of the predicament. Then it leads to stage5.
Focus on fears, anxiety and worry cause distraction. This makes the task even more difficult. But somehow you prepare the speech. It doesn’t even appeal to you. But you can do nothing. So you are ready but with a substandard speech.
You are on the stage. You are nervous. Whatever you had prepared, even that plays hide and seek with you. You start making the same mistakes which you had predicted. Your legs shake, hands shiver voice cracks. Instead of 15 minute speech you could last only for 5 to 6 minutes. Your enemy stage fright had the day of celebration. It had won. You come down as a defeated person.
Now, let me tell you how to tame this wild bull, your victor – the stage fright. I’ll briefly but clearly explain the five steps formula to beat your enemy down.
The day you agree to speak, on the same day you should note down the points which you will like to project. Whatever you know is fine. Google out the rest. Having the points is just like collecting your ammunition.
Next day, you go through these points a number of times. You may find some of them not so lethal while you find others like dynamites. Retain the dynamites and throw away the weaklings. Don’t keep anything extra. Now, you are ready to wage a war. You have all the weapons.
Again you go through the points you have now collected. As you have slept over them for 2days, you will find it very easy to put them in proper order. One naturally will lead to another and you will have a good sketon for your speech. It is the framework of your final delivery. Just like a general of an army strategizes the attack and keep ready to wage a war against your abominable enemy stage fright. This done, you must visualize yourself as the victor in the mar. See yourself battling away all the enemies, big and small.
Just visualization will not help. It will inspire to put in all the hard work that lies ahead. Now, for balance days that you have, you must practice, practice and practice. Since it’s your first big battle no am omit of practice is too much. Practice as much as you can but also some more.
On the day of reckoning go to the appointed place at least ½ an hour early. Meet organizers and others who have come. Talk to them informally. You know your subject in and out. You have practiced your speech more number of times than anyone can imagine. You are sure to come out as a winner. Stage fright will be scared of you and you will rock the stage. Wherever there is applause allow people to have their way. Don’t limit their appreciation. Thank them with you facial expression and then centinue. At the end receive compliments grace fully and not sheepishly.
Now you are ready for the next expedition.
3 Prime Parameters of Public Speaking.
Public Speaking has been considered very important ever since society started its cultural journey, hundreds of years ago. But Public Speaking is difficult and the public speaker faces many problems, real and assumed ones.
Today, I will talk about three chief parameters of an effective speech. These three form the litmus test of a good speech.
We need just to remember three words- Ethos Pathos and Logos. These Latin words are easy to remember. It was Greek philopber and speaker Cicero who gave the speaking fraternity these 3 dictums which hold ground even after hundreds of years.
What is Ethos? It is your credibility. Ethos tells the audience that you are chosen to speak to them on a particular subject because you are the most deserving candidate at that moment. Unless you are a celebrity and unless the host has adequately introduces you, it falls upon your shoulders to inform and convince the audience that you are a great choice. You can do this by talking about your experience, about your being fully conversant with the subject and by quoting reference of positive feedbacks that you might have received.
Pathos is the need of your audience. What are they looking for from the presentation you have promised to make? You may also like to know the number of people and their profile. Besides, you can understand from your research what will interest those most? The host is equally interested in making the event worth its while. So having a chat about what you are going to speak and what the audience expects from you will be time well spent. Acquire such information sooner than later. It will help you to prepare your speech well in advance. Even a highly rated public speaker need to give orientation to his speech after defining the audience. Until you become such a speaker that whatever you speak is happily accepted.
Logos: Lastly I will explain about meaning of Logos. It implies how well you construct your arguments. Whatever you speak has to be supported by some examples and by some logical arguments. These have to be convincing and interesting. But you have to look at these from the point of view of your audience. You have to step into their shoes to understand it well. More importantly, the audience or the majority people in the audience should be able to connect with your statements.
And of course you have to speak clearly in a well modulated voice.
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Voice modulation is necessary for making your speech interesting. If someone is speaking without modulating his/her voice, they will sound like people who are not concerned whither you listen to them or not Voice modulation makes your listeners listen to you.
What is voice modulation? And how do we imbibe voice modulation techniques in our personality? These and various other aspects of voice modulation form an integral part of our unique voice modulation and public speaking course.
First of all let us understand the meaning of Voice modulation. The dictionary meaning of the word ‘modulation’ when referred to voice implies, regulating the voice as per requirement of your speech. Thus, you must bring in change in pace, pause and pitch while speaking. Without modulation, your speech will be flat and monotonous. Further, you must also change the emphasis on the keyword and the tone to improve the efficacy of your speech.
The following 3 objectives are Critical. 1) To enable the listener to understand you fully. 2) To enable you to express your ideas effectively. 3) To ensure that you are not repetitive or verbose. There would be many more benefits of voice modulation, but these 3 must be remembered so that you will always try to bring about a well modulated speech. During one on one conversation as well as speaking to a group or even speaking in public.
Speech is a matter of habit. Habits change very hard. Therefore, unless we use highly effective techniques of voice modulation, the results will be for from satisfactory. Through various innovative modulation exercises we train our students to learn these techniques. Repetitive process enable the trainees to imbibe voice modulation practice in their day to day speech.
Who should practice Voice Modulation?
The one word answer to the question is: ‘Everybody’. Because everyone wants to express himself/herself clearly. Everyone wants that people should be impressed by their well modulated speech. Because everybody wants views. Thus voice modulation is vital for public speakers, those who want to make presentations and all those who want to succeed in influencing people.
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Higher education system of ancient India had marked its impression all over the world. But over a period of time, higher education lost its global competitiveness. Due to foreign rulers–Mughals & then the British, the strength and finesse of our education was fatally wounded. The fact that our country got freedom about 70 years ago, yet our education system has hardly seen any change is dismal. No doubt, there are more schools, more colleges, more institutions for higher education, but the quality of education which is the critical has not improved. In particular, business management education in India is far from satisfactory. In spite the openings of many IIMs, the state of management education is depressing.
The expansion of economic activity requires more business managers. Many business schools came into existence. But are they producing graduates who can take up higher management roles? Sadly not. There are more than 20 IIMs as of now. Barring a few – IIM Ahmadabad, IIM Bangalore, & IIM Calcutta, the standard of education is below average. Besides, hordes of business schools have mushroomed throughout the country, but their pass outs are not even employable. The Modi Government may have realised the situation, but the action taken is too little, too late.
The Government is proposing to remedy some of the problems which require an executive order. Currently, there are more than 20 IIMs, yet it is unfortunate that only 7-8% of the MBA graduates are employable, according to a study conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. Employability is critical. The quality of teaching in most of the institutions is not even satisfactory. There are exceptions like highly rated IIM Ahmadabad, IIM Bangalore and IIM Calcutta, These are top 3 institutes and have excellent faculty. Students from these 3 IIMs are offered fat packages at campus placements. But no other institute can boast of the same.
Higher education system in India is in such a dismal state, that even the quality of students from the IIMs is deteriorating. Public Speaking training sessions have been conducted by us for the students of various IIMs including Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Udaipur, Raipur and Lucknow over a period of time. It was observed that only students from Ahmadabad, Bangalore and Kolkata were capable of expressing themselves clearly, and confidently. Others searched for words, used lot of filler words and were too verbose to communicate effectively. Here, we are considering only IIMs. One can imagine the poor plight of students from thousands of other business schools which have mushroomed in the country over the years. There were 5500 business schools approved by A.I.C.T.E. Out of these 220 were shut down in 2014 & 2015. At least 120 more met the same fate in 2016.
If this situation prevails, we will land ourselves in a scenario of having a huge number of people with degrees but not enough manpower with adeptness to meet the emerging requirement, thereby leading to low employability. Latest bill on education is intended to remove some of the anomalies.
IIMs to offer MBA degree instead of diploma
Students passing out of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are presented with diplomas instead of degree certificates. This puts graduates from IIMs behind many universities and colleges, which provide Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degrees. Some countries do not understand the concept of PGDM. Only in India, diploma is recognized not in foreign countries. Therefore, if students are trying to find out any position outside India it is difficult.
Foreign Students need to be attracted
Inspite of producing excellent students and some even being selected by multinational companies at very hefty packages, IIMs do not attract foreign students. Firstly because IIMs are awarding diploma instead of degree, secondly and more importantly there is practically no marketing effort. Since IIMs are getting enough students from within the country, the board of Governors of these institutes do not realise the importance of securing students from other countries. This is a fallacy. There is no dearth of students for the top universities in UK & USA, yet they have a consistent programme to attract foreign students. These institutes realise the benfits of cross cultural interaction in education. Hope some positive steps are taken in this direction.
Faculty need to be excellent trainers
The second major problem faced by IIM students is the faculty. Most of the faculty in IIMs are highly qualified but they are not great teachers. They need to be enthusiastic public speakers which most of them are not. If a faculty is not able to express his/her opinion with conviction the students are not going to become very confident individuals. Confidence to express oneself is crucial for a business leader. Therefore, it is important to select skilled, high quality faculty who possess the necessary qualifications but who are also adept in motivational speaking.
These institutes need to be fully autonomous.
Out of 20 IIMs in India, 13 IIMs are functioning without full-time directors. Some posts are lying vacant for more than 2 years. If they are autonomous, this situation will not arise. In the absence of directors, the institutions will not be able to take decisions which should never be postponed. This may include appointment of faculty, which is the root cause of all problems.
Lack of Transparency
Transparency in management institutions will attract better quality professors who truly act as facilitators. IIMs must maintain the transparency in the selection of Faculty, Directors and Board of Governors of the institutions. While selecting the key personnel, both technical as well as the personal aspects should be taken into consideration.
Institutions must encourage education which motivates students to become independent learners. Also, Students must be encouraged to discuss with other students on research projects and assignments that are both socially and culturally relevant to them. By interacting with other students, they develop the ability to express their thoughts and ideas effectively and confidently. In this way, students become self-confident, self-directed, and proactive. That will stimulate them to crack any kind of interviews effectively.
Hope with the 2017 budget where the focus is moved to improving the quality of education and the forthcoming education bill, we may see significant improvement.
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For a Long time Public Speaking has posed a great problem to most of human beings. Traditionally, public speaking was known as the leader addressing a crowd from the stage. It is not so today. Verbal communications have become extremely important. So even if you are speaking one on one, same articulation and clarity in voice is required as if you are talking to a group. PPT presentations have become very important in day to day functioning of the office. We will therefore deal with the six most critical aspects of Public Speaking, which are:
- Stage Fright:
Stage Fright is the fear of speaking to someone or to a group of people. When you are addressing a group of people the intensity of stage fright may be more. However if an executive is speaking just to one person – his Big Boss, he/she may experience the same fear as if they are speaking to a crowd. The strength of the fear may very from person to person and situation to situation.
You must thoroughly prepare to meet the requirement of any speaking assignment. And how do you do that? First of all, you must know your subject well. Content is the king. You should never pretend and display your ignorance of the subject to a group or even to an individual. If you don’t know, your best option is to say ‘I don’t know about it as of now’. Nobody can be expected to know everything under the Sun. Further, you should know your audience very well and you should speak in their own language.
- Body Language:
This is also very important to convey your massage. If your body language does not contribute to the efficacy of your speech, the audience will not appreciate your message. They will feel that you’re not speaking from your heart. This will go against the basic can tenets of public speaking- Ethos, Pathos and Logos. So far as body language is concerned, everything counts. The way you stand or sit, your facial expressions, the movement of your hands and legs if you’re standing. All are important.
Practice is critical for making a presentation. You must practice by reading your speech many times. You should also practice the way you’re going to deliver your speech. In delivery, it’s important to maintain an eye contact with the audience. And enthusiasm should be maintained throughout the speech. It is possible only if you breathe properly. Deep breathing is recommended. In fact yoga and various yogic practices help you to develop a habit of deep breathing. The importance of practice in public speaking can never be exaggerated.
- Audience connect:
You should connect with the audience. It should appear that you are speaking to them individually. You may roll your eyes in the entire hall. Verisimilitude will take place. The speaker should never look toward the ceiling or any corner or only in one direction. This will disconnect the rest of the people. In turn, they will become disinterested.
- Inject humor:
Any speech devoid of humor becomes very dry and uninteresting. Humor can be created in many ways. Experienced speakers ask the audience simple questions a in such a way that they burst into laughter. A new speaker has to be more careful. He should practice interesting anecdotes, or humorous stories. We must remember that the relevance of the story with the subject or the situation we face should be unquestionable. Story telling is also an art which must be practiced extensively.
Public speaking is no doubt difficult. But its advantages are immense. Today, when lots of presentations have to be made by executives, any kind of stage fright or hesitation is a serious handicap. Likewise, clarity in speech in order to articulate your ideas is important to make an impact. Practicing by finding opportunities to speak in public will go a long way to making you good public speaker.
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In the competitive environment of today, it is essential for all Leaders (even if you lead one person) to be passionate and highly motivated. Leadership by hierarchy is no longer valid.
How to be an effective Leader? How to develop Leadership Qualities? What is the first step?
The first and foremost quality leaders must have is a passion for whatever they do? Doing anything half-heartedly does not work today. A passion for becoming an excellent public speaker could be the first step. A public speaker is like a performer, a stage actor – they eagerly desire to perform. Passion enables them to perform. They enjoy what they do, and their passion to do the same more and more wholeheartedly increases. Initial difficulties are eradicated and they become successful in their mission.
Furthermore, if a leader is passionate about a job, followers are likely to follow suit. Business becomes easier. Passion also helps to maintain enthusiasm which in turn is contagious. That should therefore be the foremost quality of an effective leader. Being a store house of energy. In fact, most of the time that people are away, they are at work. So if during the work you are enjoying and happy, life becomes very interesting and significant. One starts loving life. That is what Leaders do.
“Stay hungry; Stay foolish!” were the words of Steve Jobs which was the essence of his famous speech at the Stanford University. Hunger for knowledge can never be satiated. The more you learn, the more you desire to learn. Knowledge is endless. A good Leader’s hunger for knowledge should also be endless. That is what made Steve Jobs a most revered Leader in technology and business. Quest for knowledge makes you realize that you never know enough. Besides, this also helps in keeping your ego at bay. And growth comes as a by-product of your efforts to learn and to thwart ego.
The next important quality a Leader must have is discipline. If you are passionate and if you are hungry you will probably go on the right road of your destination. But the road is never smooth. It may have many hurdles which you have to overcome. Discipline teaches you to do something that needs to be done at a particular time. Sometimes you may like to do it, and sometimes you may not like to do it. But discipline motivates you to finish your task in both situations. As a Leader it is critical to have 100% commitment for your mission.
A Leadership Skills Development Workshop helps offer the right inputs which brings out the qualities of a Leader. For more information visit: http://nimblefoundation.org/leadership-skills.html
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