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Monday, April 11, 2011

Stage Fright

It might seem like a professional public speaker would be over the fears commonly associated with getting up in front of a crowd, but it's not true. The blog of all things helpful, Lifehacker, posted about one way to overcome your fear of public speaking. Essentially you need to psyche yourself up to get ready for getting in front of people. Listen to an energizing song or do some exercise or anything that tends to increase your energy and lift your mood.

I've noticed in preaching that there is a consistent fear of public speaking that manifests in several different ways. One is the podium shield where the preacher stands behind the podium and grips it for dear life throughout the sermon. Another is the ramble-warm-up where there's an extended time of talking about meaningless things to get over the nerves and get to the point of the sermon. There's the scripted sermon that allows the preacher to never have to look at the audience, but instead to just read the words.

One of the casualties of stage fright and the preacher's fear of public speaking is the lack of the use of PowerPoint. I've heard myriad objections to the use of PowerPoint in preaching, but most of them boil down to the fear of the preacher. Learning a new skill and the accompanying risk of failure in a public forum causes the stage fright to kick in before the sermon is written. PowerPoint is avoided because it's different and might be difficult, and above all because it might not work.

What does your stage fright make you do? How do you overcome stage fright?

Photo Credit: Yamil Flores -

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