I Didn’t Know How To Stop My Fear Of Speaking
Over 400 people were waiting for me at the Wanamaker Auditorium in Philadelphia.
It was 1979 and this was my first time speaking to a large group. I was a young broker at Merrill Lynch and I was going to talk about a new investment called a money market fund.
As I walked towards the podium my heart started pounding faster. My face went from cool to burning the closer I got to the microphone.
I gripped my notes in sweaty palms and my legs felt rubbery. I don’t know if I can do this, I thought. I introduced myself and heard a loud voice. It didn’t sound like me.
I don’t remember much of what I said. The next 40 minutes were a blur.
From that day forward, my goal was to get over my fear of speaking. This journey has led me to uncover some unusual (but highly effective) ways to change how I feel whenever I’m in front of a group.
Here’s What I Know Now About Speaking In Public
Just as there are different kinds of fear, there are a variety of ways to get over it. You can take a pill, but I don’t recommend that because it does nothing for your self-confidence. You can also practice speaking in public until you are finally comfortable but that can take anywhere from 2 to 10 years.
Personally, I like doing things the quick and easy way.
After helping hundreds of people get over their fear of speaking using hypnosis, EFT Tapping, NLP, and Thought Training, I’ve come up with some quick and easy ways that will work for almost anyone.
Watch this short video of Richard Bandler helping Michael Stratham get over his longtime fear of snakes. He is using the basic concepts of NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) The same principles that work on eliminating the fear of snakes works on the fear of public speaking too.
Below are some of the quickest ways to overcome your fear of speaking in public. They may seem a bit weird. They are based on principles of NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming), self-hypnosis, and subconscious thought programming.
1. CHANGE THE FEELING of FEAR
If you are about to give a presentation to a group and you feeling that familiar “pit in my stomach” then take a few minutes and change that feeling.
Here’s a quick way to change the feeling:
- Give the feeling a shape, then imagine the shape is getting smaller
- Give the feeling a color, then imagine it changing to a more soothing color.
- Notice if the feeling is heavy, then make it lighter.
2. CHANGE THE THOUGHT
If you are going to give a presentation and the thoughts in your head sound like
I’m worried I’ll forget what to say,
I’m worried I’ll embarrass myself,
I’m worried everyone will see how scared I am,
The moment you are aware of that worry, change that thought to
” I like the idea I remember everything and I feel great”
“I like the idea I’m calm and relaxed every time I speak.”
3. CHANGE THE IMAGE
If you are a visual person and tend to picture the worst scenario, change the picture. For example, if you imagine you standing in front of a group feeling embarrassed, change the imagine and see yourself feeling comfortable and relaxed.
To make easier, go further into the future and imagine what you will feel like AFTER you have completed the presentation and everything went well.
Hold that image of you feeling calm and comfortable throughout your entire presentation.
Practice feeling how good you will feel after you give a great presentation. The more you practice this the more you reinforce new thoughts in your brain’s neural pathways to help you achieve what you want.
What’s the biggest fear you have right now that’s holding you back?
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