An important meeting at your workplace is coming up, and you’ve agreed to present a few new ideas to the company. You usually feel quite nervous about this kind of thing, but you keep persuading yourself that it’ll be all right. As the time for you to speak in public draws closer and closer, you begin to regret ever agreeing to do it. The mere idea of presenting your thoughts to the team is enough to bring you out in a sweat and get your heart racing.
Does this seem like you?
It’s actually not as unusual as perhaps you might suppose. It’s calculated that as many as 1 in 10 individuals in the UK suffer some degree of social anxiety, including anxiety about public speaking, that is 6.3 million individuals.
Just how do public speaking nerves affect us?
Being nervous about speaking in public can make life extremely difficult and can have a major effect on a person’s life; from dropping out of college or not coming across positively in job interviews, to steering clear of promotion in the workplace if the new role calls for making pitches.Some common symptoms include:
- Hammering heart
- Feeling hot or sweating
- Getting red in the face
- Stomach cramps or queasiness
- Unable to concentrate
- Having a stutter
- Feeling agitated
- Not being able to sleep before social occasions
Public speaking fears run deep
Presentation nerves can originate from earlier memories of humiliation or embarrassment from our childhood. For one of my clients, it all stemmed from being made to recite a poem about rain in assembly, when she couldn’t pronounce her r’s properly as a 7-year old. The experience was still fresh in her mind, as she relived the fear of being laughed at. You may not be able to remember the originating incidents so clearly as this, but they are all stored in the unconscious and affect the way we feel about ourselves. For example, they may make us assume that we are sure to say something silly in front of a group of people.
Three steps to overcome public speaking nerves
It’s usually very straightforward to overcome presentation nerves or fears of speaking in public, by using hypnosis. The first stage is to learn how to relax effectively with some good relaxation techniques. I teach most of my clients a technique called cue-controlled relaxation, which helps them (with practice) to turn relaxation on at will.
Then, I go through a process of mental rehearsal with clients, so that they imagine how they want to behave as they make their presentation or speech – imagining themselves preparing well, feeling relaxed and confident, speaking calmly and clearly, making good eye contact with their audience etc.
The final stage is to work on all the fears and worries that are making the client nervous. Very often people are worried that they will make a mistake and people will think they’re stupid, or they think people won’t be interested in what they’re saying, or will be critical and judge them in some way. These fears are usually unfounded. I go through with clients how they can think in a more helpful and realistic way, for example that their audience may not even notice if they don’t manage to follow their presentation plan or speech notes, and even if they do make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world – their audience understands that everyone makes mistakes!
How hypnosis helps increase confidence for public speaking
Hypnosis makes mental rehearsal even more powerful. After guiding the client into a trance-like state of relaxation, I use hypnosis to start to change unconscious beliefs and fears, replacing them with more useful, constructive suggestions about how the client can think, feel and behave confidently when speaking in public. Not only can this help the client to feel comfortable and positive with public speaking and presentations, but it often has knock-on effects in other areas of their life too, after they are free of previous harmful beliefs about themselves.
After only a few sessions, lots of clients will start to experience a considerable improvement in how they react to social settings and situations. Clients typically say that it has helped them to:
- Feel at ease, self-confident and in control while giving presentations and speeches.
- Attend business networking events, exhibitions, or make sales calls without worries or stress.
- Feel self-confident when all eyes and ears are on them.
- Actually enjoy presenting!
If you’d like to turn your public speaking nerves into public speaking confidence, please do contact me for a free, no-obligation ‘phone consultation to find out how hypnotherapy can help you. Call 0208 546 2122 today.