Featured in The Zebra
“Yes, You Can Speak with Confidence”
By Jason Linett, BCH, CI
All eyes are now on you. Your hands are shaking, your heart is racing, and you’re blanking on what to say next. Then suddenly the experience is over, and you can’t quite figure out how you got through it.
Perhaps the most common fear or apprehension people have is public speaking. Whether it’s work, personal, or a special event, people find themselves called upon to get up and speak and experience these symptoms.
I’ve worked with hundreds of clients helping them to relieve the fear of public speaking through the help of hypnosis, and here are several tips I’ve found to be highly effective in improving your upcoming speaking opportunity:Project Rapport. Have you ever been in a situation watching a speaker HOPING they would fail? Hopefully, it’s unlikely. We naturally find ourselves subconsciously “rooting for” a speaker when we’re in attendance. Consider the uncomfortable feeling you would have watching someone forget their words, break into a cold sweat, and blush with embarrassment. We would empathize with their discomfort.
Assume this rapport works in both directions. It’s a natural human experience; we want to move toward comfort and away from discomfort. The next time you have the opportunity to speak in public, allow yourself to step into the reality that people want you to succeed.
Move with Purpose. Excessive walking or pacing during a speech can be distracting and come across as nervousness. However, making use of movement with specific intentions can strengthen any speaking opportunity.
Here’s an example. Mentally map out of your space in which you will speak. Let’s say part of your talk involves a problem from the past and a solution for the future. Deliver the content about the problems in one specific area of your “stage,” and talk about solutions from another. We call this spatial anchoring. You’re connecting feelings with specific areas in space. Whether it’s a true science or not, you’ll have intention when walking into a new space, rather than meandering to another spot simply because “it feels like it’s time to move.” This applies to gesturing with the hands as well.
Find Your Best Strategies. Do you work best if you’ve scripted out every word? Are you better prepared with a simple outline? Do you rehearse best out loud or by mentally marking your talking points?
There are many other considerations to take. Are you comfortable with humor? Is it even appropriate? This is where practice and experience will train you the fastest.
Model Excellence. In addition to preparing your content, spend some time listening to or watching good speakers. Possible resources can range from politicians to online TED talks or even comedians. What are you drawn to, and what mannerisms seem a natural fit with you? Exercise a bit of creative visualization while watching the pros. Imagine it’s as if you’re the one up there creating the same reactions, interest, and enthusiasm from the audience.
Consider even celebrities for your visual or personality doppelganger. Who is out there that is “just like you,” and you can borrow from their skills? You should always be yourself, but if you don’t feel like you have the natural resources to effectively deliver a speech, there’s no harm in harnessing someone else’s resources as if they were your own.
Release the Past. Allow every new experience to be a new experience. If you forgot your place in a talk one time, allow yourself to fully understand that you lost your place in a talk that ONE time. If visions of Mrs.Horton’s first grade spelling bee are haunting you each time you’re asked to speak at work, it’s time to work on letting it go.
Talk it through to a friend. Visualize the experience as it were an old black-and-white silent movie. Consider using Hypnosis. Spend a few moments mindfully relaxing yourself before speaking. When our mind is focused on the present moment, stress and worry cannot exist.
As a final thought, remember that we all start somewhere. Public speaking is simply the act of speaking in public. It’s a skill that we work towards improving each and every time we have the opportunity. Allow every step forward to be a step forward.
Jason Linett is a Board Certified Hypnotist and the Director of Virginia Hypnosis, a solution-oriented hypnosis practice in Alexandria, Virginia. For more information, visit www.VirginiaHypnosis.com or call (703) 341-6655 for a free confidential consultation.
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