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Stage Fright

Evelyn Davis
Evelyn Davis
Courtesy Evelyn Davis

Stagers are used to doing their work in a fairly solitary manner. They may have an assistant or two but generally the work is done quickly, quietly and without an audience. However at some point in a staging career, generating more business and attaining the next level of success becomes a priority. Growing a business means, getting out there. Giving a speech or making a presentation in front of a group can be paralyzing for many people. The Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) chapter in Dallas got the low down recently on overcoming stage fright from Evelyn Davis, a local actress with over twenty years of experience in acting, directing and teaching.

“The number two greatest fear people have is death by fire,” Davis told stagers. The number one fear is public speaking. People would rather be set on fire than get up and talk in front of an audience.”

Great, you aren’t alone! In fact you’re in the majority if you fear public speaking. So, what’s the solution? How do you get up in front of your local real estate agency and keep from talking too fast, talking too slow, not talking enough, talking too much or tripping and falling down?

“First things first,” Davis said. “What’s the worst thing that can happen? Will you fall off the stage? If you make a mistake, make it big. If you fall off the stage, make it part of your game plan.” Plan for disaster and figure out what you will do if disaster really strikes. The odds are in your favor that it won’t.

Getting that talk off the ground is always the hardest part. The opener is crucial. Is your audience going to be yawning in two minutes or laughing? Davis suggests looking up “icebreakers for public speaking” on the Internet. The first rule is get the audience involved. Participation is directly related to attention.

“ Learn some breathing techniques as well,” Davis said. Think about it. Singers warm up their voices before they go onstage. Mothers are taught breathing techniques before they go into labor. It works. Breathing exercises will lower your blood pressure, slow your heart beat down and bring more oxygen to your brain, all of which will help you be a more effective speaker.

Equally important is an awareness of catch phrases. “Practice in front of your friends, “ Davis advised. “Have them check you for words you might be using as a crutch.“ Relying on the same phrase over and over makes you sound unsure and unprofessional.

Above all, know your audience wants to see you do well. “They’re really glad that you’re up there speaking and they’re not, “ Davis said. “ Remember, they’d rather be set on fire!”

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