How to Overcome Fear Of Public Speaking
This statement is both true and false. For some people facing their fear will lead to them overcoming it. For others, it is the worst thing that they could do, as continually putting themselves into a traumatic position merely intensifies their fear. Worst case scenario is that the problem increases, their initial intense nerves leading to panic attacks. The reason for this is that if the intensity of the fear is great enough when you push yourself through a presentation, your mind just stores the experience as another trauma, confirming that public speaking is dangerous.
The Better Option: Overcome Your Fear
Fear of public speaking isn’t something you need to live with; it can be overcome. There are powerful techniques available which can be highly effective at dealing with this fear. EFT (Tapping therapy) can be highly effective with this type of problem. NLP techniques can also be very effective.
Understanding How We Develop Fear of Public Speaking
This is a learned behaviour. We develop this issue as a consequence of our experiences in life.
For example, I worked with a client who at six years old was humiliated in front of her class mates by her teacher. To feel humiliated is a very disempowering, uncomfortable experience. She had high-intensity emotions during the event. We learn very rapidly during events with high emotion. The reason for this is survival. We are programmed to survive. This event would have been perceived as a threat to survival. As a consequence, to try to protect from it happening again, the unconscious mind holds onto the memory. Certain elements within the memory are now tagged as dangerous. During this event, a whole room full of people turned to look at the six-year-old child, so therefore, being the centre of attention, people’s eyes looking at her was associated with danger. This memory faded from the client’s conscious memory. It was still stored as a threatening experience within her unconscious mind; as such it influenced her behaviour.
When she went to University and at the age of 21 she had a panic attack while presenting. The reason that this occurred at this age was that from the age of six to twenty-one she had been able to avoid presenting. Survival responses are; fight, flight or freeze. Behaviours associated with “flight” are avoidance. She had been able to successfully avoid being in a situation that put her as the centre of attention, with lots of people looking at her. At university, she did not have an option, she had to do it, and as a consequence she had a panic attack.
The Roots of the Fear
Although to her it might have felt like the problem began at the age of 21, its origins lie at the age of 6 or younger.
Effective Techniques for Overcoming with the Fear
Both EFT and NLP are highly effective at overcoming this fear. With both, you can target the memories that are connected to the problem. The memories and how your mind perceived the experience influences the current moment in time. With both EFT and NLP, you can change the memory. How this works is that when you have a traumatic (mild/ moderate intensity reoccurring event or high-intensity one off) event happens in your life, your mind can hold onto it as if it is still happening now, a current threat. When you tap using EFT (Movie Technique or Direct Tapping) or use an NLP approach such as Quick Phobia Cure, your mind recodes the memory. For example, as you begin to use these techniques on the memories that underpin the current problem, they often become dimmer or more distant, more difficult to visualise or feel. And people often say things such as, “It seems so long ago now”, or “I can’t believe that bothered me”. This is the memory being recoded as“old”, “not happening now”, “no longer a threat”, “over, finished.” Effectively this is switching off the memory, reclassifying whatever happened as no longer a threat. As the memory is recoded and switched off, it stops the event from the past influencing the current behaviour, in this case causing the fear in public speaking. The techniques do not change the fact that the events happened, all they do is free us from their influence now.
To sum up, facing your fear in some circumstances can lead to overcoming it for some people. For others, it just intensifies the fear and can in some circumstances lead to panic attacks and increased stress. Facing your fear is not necessary to overcome your fear. Fear can be eradicated using powerful natural and easy to apply techniques that switch off the memories associated with the fear.
All the best,
Tania A Prince
EFT Founding Master
AAMET Accredited EFT Master Trainer of Trainers