Presentation Anxiety, also known as Fear of Public Speaking (Glossophobia) or Stage Fright is very common. It is the number one fear even ahead of fear of dying. In fact, experts estimate that 75% of all people suffer from this fear.
The fear of public speaking is often a result from an experience in childhood that has been buried deeply in the subconscious mind. Classmates laughing at you for a verbal slip-up or because your clothes weren’t quite right, or even because something funny happened behind you that you weren’t aware of, can all be triggers for glossophobia appearing in later life. If you experience this sense of humiliation or embarrassment when you were a young person, you can sometimes carry it into later life. School age children will dread the moment the teachers call upon them to read; adults are worried to participate in meetings, give a best man speech or a presentation at work.
The more you avoid speaking in public, the worse it gets, as the initial fear gets blown more and more out of proportion by the subconscious mind until it becomes a full blown phobia.Nowadays we tend to speak less and less in front of people as a lot of our lives happen online or over the phone, giving us a sense of safety and anonymity. This makes the occasions when we are called upon to do a presentation or give a speech rarer and therefore even harder to deal with.
Symptoms of glossophobia can include sweating profusely, being tongue-tied, dry mouth, stuttering, nausea and even vomiting, this can be overwhelming event to the extent of panic or anxiety attacks.
There are many ways to deal with this anxiety, here are our 3 top tips:
Prepare your speech or presentation or be clear about the point you want to make at a meeting. For speeches/presentations have the main points you want to make written down on a cue card (index cards word well for this), never try and memorise large parts of the speech or even the whole presentation. Know your topic well, the words will come naturally.
See if you can visit the venue beforehand so you can get a feel for the room you’re going to speak in and familiarise yourself with any technical equipment.
Don’t expect perfection
No one, not even the most experienced speakers, can avoid mistakes completely. Expect to get things wrong, and come up with coping mechanisms in advance. When you slip up, simply keep going gracefully. Nobody will remember whether you stuttered at some point or put up the wrong slide. They will, however, remember if you fall apart because of it. There’s no need, simply correct your error (if you can, otherwise ignore it) and move on.
Combat negative self talk about your public speaking
The worst thing you can do to yourself is listen to those voices inside your head trying to convince you that it’s all going to end in disaster, that your are a failure, etc. This kind of negative self talk can be extremely destructive. Make yourself aware of those negative message you are giving yourself and turn them consciously around with positive messages such as: “everything is going to go smoothly”, “the audience will appreciate my presentation”, “I will be fine”, etc. Imagine what you would say to your own best friend if they were facing these fears.
Hypnotherapy can be a great solution for combating the Fear of Public Speaking in the long term. Hypnotherapy works with the subconscious where all our deep seated emotions reside. It can bring those emotions and fears into consciousness and enable you to deal with them. It can also provide you with techniques for relaxation and visualisation before you have to give a presentation or speech. This means that you can approach the event calmly and ensure that you give the best possible performance.
Samantha Culshaw-Robinson is a clinical hypnotherapist who has helped dozens of clients overcome their phobias since 2010. To get in touch for your complimentary consultation, please phone 075 222 777 22 or email firstname.lastname@example.org