How often have you thought that you have something you want to say which if said private you would be speaking freely about it? Things get a little more challenging when you are asked if you would like to present your thoughts to an audience. So why is it so much more difficult to speak out in public?
Speaking to an audience can render even the most seemingly confident person paralysed with fear. The mouth goes dry, the limbs tremble and the words you've crafted so carefully fly off into the ether. It is really common misconception that public speaking is a challenge which can not be overcome. People who are bold and fearless seem to turn to jelly at the thought of putting themselves in the spotlight.
There are some techniques though which some people find helpful and it may be that trying a combination of these can be beneficial.
What is it that you are most fearful of when thinking about giving a presentation?
Epictetus a Greek philosopher wrote that ' man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined fear about real problems'. This is probably the most simple explanation of what goes on in our brains as the dreaded public speaking event looms nearer.
We fear that we will be judged by others, but what evidence do we have that this will happen?
We fear that we will forget our words, but why would we forget our words if we know what we are talking about and so what if we do forget some words?
We fear that we may not be as good as other speakers, but how are we measuring this?
Sometimes the fear is reinforced by social anxiety. This anxiety gives rise to feelings of panic when we are in situations we aren't comfortable being in.
I help clients who are finding that their panicky feelings are hijacking their rational thoughts and stifling opportunity. We explore together the 'worst case scenario' theory and work on alleviating the worries surrounding this. Once we have done this we look at getting the breathing right. Those sharp intakes of breath we take when we are anxious will quickly exacerbate the feelings of panic and by calmly controlling this, the benefits are felt really fast.
Past experiences too can impact on and exacerbate our feelings of anxiety. They are stored deep in our subconscious minds and fed back to us at times where our recollection of them is matched to what is going on now. For example we may have once heard someone saying something negative in a social situation. This comment is stored away until our subconscious mind matches the situation and gives it back to us. It is as if the mind is actually trying to protect us from repeating something which previously brought about a negative response. We may have performed in a school play and heard someone say that it wasn't good. This comment tunnels down deep into our mind and waits until decides to give it back to us. The person who said they didn't like the play probably wasn't talking about us but the comment has already been secreted away. it doesn't need to be an exact match but its usually enough to deter us from doing anything which will likely evoke the same response. We respond to this by fearing and avoiding the situation eg public speaking
NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming will help clients to identify where and when their self limiting blocks came from. We use techniques to enable you to explore your dreams and goals without limitations. We really dig out the unhelpful comments and the negative feelings they provoked. It is an incredibly calming experience and one which brings about real relief.
If you feel that you would like to explore your 'can do' attitude and banish negativity then do contact me! What's the worse that can happen?