Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Overcoming public speaking nerves




I have been busy lately, giving talks about public speaking, most recently at the Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce. I am also currently treating a lot of clients privately, in my clinic, for fear of public speaking. This is a very common fear and can apply to a wide variety of scenarios, from giving a big presentation at work, to delivering a wedding speech, right down to talking for a minute in a team meeting. When you have this anxiety, your fight or flight response kicks in. In addition to the emotional feelings of panic and wanting to run away, the fight or flight response also causes a range of physical effect. The effects include a racing heart, breathlessness, shaking, dry mouth, sweating and all the other symptoms you associate with a fear of public speaking.

It genuinely holds people back in life. I have met people who are perfectly capable of getting a promotion or a new job. They have the necessary skills and experience, but the fear of having to run meetings or deliver presentations, stops them from progressing and achieving their career goals.

I find it very sad that people are held back in this way. The good news is that public speaking is relatively easy to treat. So, how do you overcome a fear of public speaking?

First of all notice how you are speaking to yourself in your own mind. We all have an inner monologue constantly chattering away in our own minds. If we say to ourselves things like;
I am crap at public speaking,
everyone will think I’m boring,
I go bright red,
Then the chances are we will talk ourselves into a state of anxiety.
Talk to yourself as if you are your own best friend. Use encouraging and motivating language in your own mind, as you prepare for public speaking.

Another really great technique I use, to help with public speaking, is to use hypnosis to make a new association in my client’s mind. I pair relaxation with public speaking. It is impossible to be very relaxed and very anxious at the same time. By pairing public speaking with relaxation you remove the anxiety and fear. This is a really powerful effective technique.

I also often use a technique called Anchoring to help my clients overcome a fear of public speaking. An anchor is a trigger which elicits a specific state. How would you like to feel when you are doing a presentation? My guess is you would like to feel;
calm
relaxed
confident
at ease
cool

Using hypnosis we can access that state in which you feel calm, relaxed, confident etc. I then set up a trigger for that state. I often use a finger thumb squeeze because it is a nice subtle anchor that you can easily use while delivering a presentation. I also anchor that good, positive, relaxed state to certain key words. Anchoring gives my clients a way of calming down if they start to feel anxious. Anchoring can be an extra tool in your tool belt. It reassures you, that if the panicked feelings do start to creep up, you can deal with them. It helps to remove the fear of the fear.

Overcoming a fear of public speaking is very liberating and allows you to reach new levels in your personal life and career. You can download a free MP3 to help you to become a more confident public speaker here. If you would like more information about how hypnotherapy can help you to master public speaking then get in touch via www.cs-hypnotherapy.co.uk