Build Confidence With Public Speaking

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I used to be one of those people who would run a mile from public speaking.  I would do it only if I absolutely HAD to do. I hated every minute anticipating it and doing it. Often, I would have a full-on stress response in the run-up.  I’d be worrying about what I would look like. Saying to myself that people are going to think I’m terrible.  Of course, there would also be those inevitable ridiculous number of trips to the loo right before. 

Maybe you’ve had something similar and lots of clients tell me similar things. The racing heart, flushed cheeks, shaking hands and uncontrollable sweats.

Even when I had lovely feedback about what I’d presented I would still tend to go with my own opinion of it being rubbish.  What I know now is that this can be a terrible self-fulfilling prophesy. The way our mind works a lot of the time is to try and prove right what we’ve thought of ourselves by seeking out and making more evidence of that.

What’s almost always true is that that no-one is noticing what you’re feeling with your nerves in the way you think they are and even if they do, the clear majority are wishing you well. It’s like when you see kids on stage and you can see they are struggling.  Most of us would be willing them on to do as well as they can.

Fear of speaking in public is very common and incredibly draining on our energy and self-esteem. Putting yourself on the spot like this, particularly when you must stand up to do it exposes us to others’ judgment and is perceived by our mind as potential threatening. So it makes total sense why our 'fight or flight' response can be triggered.

There is hope though. When I started doing what I do now, I knew I needed to overcome my presenting fears to help as many people as possible with hypnotherapy and coaching.  It’s a great way to reach a bigger audience and I was aware when I met people at networking events, my lack of confidence was getting in the way.  Over the last year, I’ve put my toe in the water doing public speaking more often. I even delivered my first public workshop about anxiety and received some great positive feedback from my audience.

Techniques I've learned in my cognitive hypnotherapy and coaching training have certainly helped me and my clients to calm nerves about public peaking.  Using a simple breathing technique to relax just before going on to speak is a great help, as it is with a lot of other anxiety issues. There are so many ways to get the speaking nerves under control using cognitive hypnotherapy. It’s one of those issues I like helping with most as it can be the gateway to doing even more challenging things. Imagine if you could conquer this fear, what else does that mean you could do?

I’ve also found that joining and participating at a local Toastmasters Public Speaking club to be helpful.  It’s a great arena to learn more about public speaking in a safe environment with a lot of other people who feel or have felt the same as you. It has really helped me to get myself out of my 'I could never do that' mind-set.

Toastmaster meetings can take a bit of getting used to as they have a set format and the first time you go you might think what on earth is all this about. Like most things that seem challenging at first, it's well worth persevering though and I'm really enjoying taking part regularly now. I love the way members support and encourage each other and how every time you go to a meeting you see people growing right in front of you so there are plenty of opportunities to learn. 

I still get nervous about public speaking but it's improved a lot over the last year.  I don’t mind admitting I’m a complete introvert who has learned to enjoy public speaking. I’m not brilliant at it but I can do it now without dissolving into being a sweaty nervous wreck.  This means that when I’m preparing a talk, my mind is imagining what I can do better instead of what is going to freak me out.

If you'd like to know more about how to get your own nerves under control and give a presentation or talk with more confidence please get in touch.  Please do share what has helped you too.