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Public speaking and presentation nerves are extremely common. One recent survey placed public speaking as the number one public fear. In other words, lots of people experience nerves when it comes to giving presentations!

In the modern day workplace we are expected perhaps more than ever before to be able to deliver presentations. This can be enormously stressful for a person who has a fear of being put on the spot in this way, and can actually become a serious problem. If your job depends on giving presentations or speaking to groups of people, then it is really important that you can be relaxed about it. It's not just the talk itself that becomes a problem but all the anxiety that leads up to the talk can be debilitating over time.


One to one help in Bristol and Bath to overcome your fear of public speaking and business presentation nerves.

Understanding Public Speaking Nerves

Excluding generalised anxiety this is the single most common individual difficulty people present for hypnotherapy for so if you're thinking it's just you...don't worry, it's not!  It's not at all uncommon for people suffering with generalised anxiety to have public speaking (usually for their job) listed as one of their main stresses and worries in life. At it's worst it can ruin careers! The good news is it can usually be treated really easily. If you're troubled by public speaking or have presentation nerves, don't suffer in silence. Help is really just a telephone call away! A fear of public speaking is not a sign of weakness. It is simply a misunderstanding at the unconscious level of awareness. It's quite normal for people who are otherwise highly successful to have a fear of public speaking. The fear often (but not always) begins at a very young age. Picture this. You're six years old and the teacher asks you to come up to the front of the class and write your name on the blackboard. You tentatively make your way to the front of the class....beads of sweat are forming on your forehead, your palms are sweaty. You take the chalk, you are a hoping for a miracle......all that you can manage are a few wobbly lines....you wish the Earth would swallow you up right there and then. This is quite enough to create a future fear of presentations! ANY experience of being in front of a group of people which leaves you feeling humiliated can create a fear of public speaking. Even worrying about such a thing happening can create a fear of presentations.

The unconscious mind takes a mental note (a template) of how awful that experience feels and now any time we go into any situation which even feels "a bit" like that, the fear is triggered. The fear is designed to stop you going into that situation or if you're already in it to get you out as quickly as possible. Fear is designed to make you uncomfortable! It tends to get worse over time if left untreated because fear becomes the strategy by which the unconscious mind believes you are surviving and therefore says "Do more of that next time!"

The picture below shows the brain of someone who is afraid of public speaking. We can see that the "incoming signal" shows a group of people looking at us. This incoming signal is filtered by the thalamus which recognises that a "group of people looking at us" is a potential threat.


The alarm is raised and there is a short circuit message sent from the Thalamus to the Amygdala. The amygdala sends an anxiety signal to the adrenal glands and adrenaline and cortisol (fear hormones) are released into the bloodstream. Adrenaline and cortisol cause sweating, shaking, nerves, increased heart rate, tremors, light headedness etc. Secondary to this there is a fuller assessment of the situation which follows directly behind the original short circuit which carries the full picture as assessed using the visual cortex. When anxiety is not too high to be unmanageable, the second signal can often "dampen" the initial fear as we are able to make a better assessment of the real level of threat. This comes in useful later in treatment but does little to help if our anxiety about public speaking is very intense in the first place. 

We treat public speaking nerves in much the same way as we treat any phobia (See here) We de-arouse and de-sensitive the template which is causing the fear, we reduce anxiety generally, and then re-frame the difficulty as a pleasure using positive visualisation methods alongside traditional hypnotic suggestions for confidence and relaxation. I will also supply you with a hypnosis CD which is specifically designed to give you "rehearsal room" time in the comfort of your own home using these techniques to improve your presentation confidence and skills. At one level of course public speaking is a skill, and presentation skills, like any other skill, are learned through repetition. Once you have your fear out of the way, you can even enjoy being in the limelight and sharing your brilliance!

I help people frequently with this difficulty. Generally speaking I would expect us to need three working sessions to deal with a simple public speaking fear. As with all anxiety related problems though, if there is a large overload of general anxiety, we may need more than three sessions, because it's necessary to take care of extra anxiety before a mind will let go of a fear sensitised template. Do remember that taking care of extra anxiety is not a bad thing! As always though I assure you we never make a meal of things....if it CAN be done in three sessions, it WILL be! The information shown here is limited for web purposes. With all difficulties, I offer a free initial consultation where we can meet and discuss your specific needs and I can explain in more detail how it all works.

If you would like to book a consultation with a view to starting treatment in Bristol or Bath you can contact me/ call on 0117 904 4504 or email me.