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Fear of Public Speaking
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Overcoming Public Speaking

Fear of Public Speaking

In surveys of what people say they fear most, fear of public speaking usually ranks number one, way above fear of dying. This means that for the average person, at a funeral they would rather be lying in the coffin than delivering the speech.

These same people have no trouble talking on the phone or gossiping with two friends, or three friends, even three total strangers. But somehow when it comes to public speaking or giving a speech, something happens to their confidence - their hands sweat, their throat dries up, they stammer and stumble and the whole thing falls to pieces.

RATIONALE

People who fear public speaking are actually reliving an event in their past, feeling what they felt then and dreading the outcome they know is inevitably coming. The event was usually a public humilation in childhood when the child was asked to speak in a classroom or similar, failed for some reason and the whole class jeered and laughed. The inner child nevers wants to be in that position again. The subconscious therefore makes sure that the circumstances never arise again. By preventing the person from ever having to speak in public, the possibility of another humiliation is avoided. The subconscious does whatever it takes to prevent speaking in public again. If the person ends up sick with fear in the toilet and can't go on, the subconscious is delighted. It means the person does not have to face the audience. The humiliation has been avoided. And the next time the idea comes up again, the subconcious will repeat all those things that worked so well the last time.

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PROCEDURE

Instilling confidence is public speaking is usually is centred on visualisation and/or regression. Usually only one session is required to totally remove the fear.

Visualisation

It is quite possible that the client has never given a public speech so there is no success to build on. The visualisation therefore sets out to instil feelings of control. Under hypnosis the client visualises themselves preparing to make a pubic presentation. They are led through every stage from the initial request to preparation to arriving at the venue and then the actual delivery. At every stage they see themselves acting confidently, practicing fluently, saying lines that impress and persuade. It is impressed on their subconscious that they are in control, totally in control, that nothing can happen that they don't control. The purpose of this is to instill the belief that they can do it easily and naturally, that they already have the skills they need and that as long as they are in control everything will go right.

Regression

Regression is a standard way of treating incident based fears. In trance the client is taken back to the critical incident in childhood. The client is then guided gently forward through the incident and asked to look objectively at what is going on, to realise that the affair was in reality harmless, that the person in charge should have done more to protect that child. The purpose of this is to create a different view of the incident, seeing it from an adult perspective, instead of from the child's perspective.

Very often reasssessing the incident is enough to destroy the fear. The regression sometimes consists of replaying the incident, but this time with the client's adult mind guiding the child through to a successful conclusion. Instead of being humiliated, the child triumphs. These impressions replace the old feelings of fear and dread. The result is that the next time the client thinks about public speaking, feelings of triumph and control come to mind, not fears. Regression is very effective.

Future pacing

This process engages the client's imagination in the specific situation where they wil be speaking in public. The procedure is another visualisation but this time visualising the actual room and the people who will be there. The purpose of this is to establish positive feelings associated with the room, the audience and so on.

Post Hypnotic Suggestion

The hypnotist then creates one or more strong post hypnotic suggestions. These centre on linking inevitable feelings with belief about success. The client is told for example that the little butterflies in the tummy are reminders of how well things are going, and other physical stimuli are similarly utilised to prove that the therapy is working. The purpose of this is to reinforce the suggestions by triggering them through inevitable minor physical perceptions.

Direct suggestion

The session finishes with a battery of direct suggestions. The purpose of these is alter the client's inner beliefs about themselves and their own ability to give an outstanding presentation.

Reorientation

The session ends with suggestions of having finally replaced all the old feelings and of feeling good about this. A final post hypnotic suggestion links some mental image as a trigger to flood the mind with confidence whenever the client thinks about any aspect of public speaking.

Outcome

The public speaking visualisation techniques can help if you have to be best man at a wedding, or give a presentation at work, address a meeting, or if you are nervous about going for an interview.