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2 December 2015

The Curse of Public Speaking – And How to Fix It

Dry mouth? Check. Sweating palms? Check. Horrible sinking feeling that you’re about to deliver a speech of dubious quality to a pack of hyenas who will be looking at you as they would tonight’s dinner? Absolutely.

If this describes how you feel when it’s your turn to present to the office, to your team, or even to just a couple of colleagues, take some small comfort in the fact that you are not alone.

A recent YouGov poll found that half the UK population was at least somewhat nervous about speaking in public. Anxiety at work in general is surprisingly common, too.

Working as a hypnotherapist in London and Winchester, I find that clients describe feelings like this to me all the time. It’s little wonder when half the population are introverts.

Plus there’s a whole host of deep-rooted and ancient genetic stuff going on. Going back to the times of your most distant ancestors, being stared at by a large group often meant you were about to be attacked or eaten. So for many of us it’s an entirely natural reaction to want to retreat from this perceived “eyes on” threat.

Hypnotherapy for confidence

One thing that can really help is hypnotherapy for confidence. Sharing many similarities is hypnotherapy for anxiety. Conquering a fear of public speaking is within most people’s grasp, and there are many things you can do at home to help better equip you.

One is called visualisation, and it is a technique much used in clinical hypnotherapy. It takes time, effort and practice. The goal is to do it so often that the thing you’re visualising feels real and natural. In this instance, what you’re visualising is being calm before the presentation.

You’re visualising yourself giving a robust and crowd-pleasing performance on stage. You’re visualising staying calm during the presentation and also feeling calm about going off script if the mood takes you, and you’re visualising feeling great after you’re done.

An idea that starts to feel like reality

The more familiar this idea becomes, the more it starts to feel like reality – so that when you do have to stand up, your heart won’t beat so fast, your voice won’t falter and you’ll follow the neural path you’ve carved out for yourself. It’s a very powerful technique that is very often used by sportsmen.

Another thing you can do at home is called Havening. Here’s a full description of how Havening works, but it basically involves stroking your body at a rate of one stroke per second and first “casting out” negative thoughts by repeating them out loud.

Then you do it again, only this time with the emotion you do want to feel. So out go “weak”, “nervous”, “unfocused” and in come “calm”, “confident”, “believable” and so on.

Havening is something I use a lot during hypnotherapy for confidence, and it also works with hypnotherapy for panic attacks, smoking, even weight loss. There are other things you can use to help you stay calm and focused before a speaking engagement – our free download is a good place to start.

I am an expert in helping people to deal with anxiety, phobias, confidence issues and many other problems that hold them back. I offer in-person hypnotherapy in London and Winchester, or private online hypnotherapy sessions, too. Get in touch today and I’ll not only give you 10% off your first session, we can schedule a free, no-strings chat.

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