It can creep up on you. You know it’s all in your mind — literally. And yet . . . at the thought of your upcoming webinar, you’re suddenly shaking in your boots. You’ve got Webinar Stage Fright. What to do? First of all, welcome to the human race. Even the pros get a touch of it. The difference is, they know what to do. Today, you’re about to learn their secrets.
Imagine these symptoms. Your neck muscles tighten up. The muscles around your eyes contract into a squint. Your shoulders scrunch-up. Your breathing rate gets faster. Your pulse races.
The Startle Pattern
No, these aren’t the symptoms of some dreadful illness. They are perfectly normal reactions to something unexpected. Even babies have similar reactions when they hear a sudden loud noise.
A researcher named Dr. Frank Pierce Jones coined the expression Startle Pattern, based on an experiment he performed on 1,000 people.
Each subject was asked to stand comfortably. Then he surprised them with a loud noise. Every single person reacted with the symptoms described above. No exceptions.
He theorized that the Startle Pattern helps humans survive danger. If you’re walking across a busy street, it might help you get out of the way when an oncoming taxi driver blasts his horn.
Startled Reaction to Stress
The reaction becomes a problem when you anticipate danger, especially danger that isn’t physical: a job interview, for example — scary but not physically dangerous.
Or a webinar. The Startle Pattern won’t help you.
Now, even seasoned pros admit that they get a touch of Webinar Stage Fright when it’s show time. So you can’t eliminate the response.
But you can manage it.
Checklist for Controlling Webinar Stage Fright
1. Drop your shoulders
Ah-h-h. Doesn’t that feel better? As shoulder tension drifts away, notice how much calmer you feel. And look!
2. Loosen your spine
Gently roll your head from side to side, forward and backward. Bend forward to touch your toes. Gently twist your torso from side to side to un-kink your backbone. Feel great?
3. Stand or sit erect
When you sit or stand hunched over, you look and feel scared. You don’t need posture like a boot camp soldier, but good posture looks better and helps you feel more confident.
4. Remember to breathe
Part of the Startle Pattern is to gasp a big breath, (to scream?) Don’t scream, just make sure you let the breath out. Take another breath. Let it out. Deep breaths have a calming effect.
5. Sing a song
Sing or hum a few bars of a tune to warm up your vocal cords. You don’t have to crank it up like PSY in Gangnam Style, although if no one’s around . . . feel free to boogie
6. Roll your eyes
Open your eyes super-wide. Roll them side-to-side and up-and-down. Now shut them tight. Your eyes use up a lot of energy, so these exercises help get rid of nervous energy.
7. Make faces
Get your face in motion. Stretch your mouth and eyes open wide. Smile really huge. Frown and furrow your brow. Afterwards, on-camera facial expressions won’t feel artificial.
8. Move your body
If possible, do a few exercises before your webinar, to warm up and reduce tension. But keep it light; you don’t want to be perspiring or gasping for air when the webinar starts.
9. Change your mind
You want to make a good impression, but remember that your webinar audience has a problem they want to solve. They’re hoping you can solve it. They desperately want you to succeed.
10. Be prepared . . .
. . . but realize that you can’t foresee every little thing. So trust yourself to handle what might go wrong. Webinar mishaps always seem bigger than they really are.
Webinar Success Mindset
Now you’re in a better frame of mind (and body) for webinar success.
Just remember, Webinar Stage Fright can’t be cured, but managing it is kinda’ fun. If we can help, we’re just a phone call away. Or an email. Or live chat. We love to hear from you
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