One of my clients rang me yesterday to very excitedly report that she had just completed a presentation in front of an audience of business people, despite the fact that a few weeks ago she found it difficult to speak a few sentences in front of a few people.
Public speaking is the world’s most common phobia, so I thought that readers might be interested in my client’s experience.
In our first session, I got her to describe how she felt about the idea of speaking in front of a large audience and the thoughts which ran through her head before and during her performance. We then examined these thoughts, fears and feelings and their physiological effects. At the end of the session, I used hypnosis to install relaxation and ego-strengthening suggestions and provided a relaxation/hypnosis recording which she could use during the following week. At our second and subsequent sessions, we worked together to ensure that she had a firm understanding of how to prepare a presentation and PowerPoint slides, personal presentation on stage and how to control her nervousness and convert fear into excitement! At the end of the second session, I made her a tailor-made recording to use every day until her presentation was due.
She was an excellent student and did the exercises and preparations diligently each week. As a result, I was delighted to receive the following account her journey earlier today…
Hi everybody, just thought I would share my story on here. I came to Keith seeking support with public speaking about a month ago. My fear of public speaking was so bad that I would keep my head down in staff meetings and never speak up. If I had something important to say I would get someone else to say it for me and avoid speaking at all costs. I had a situation once where I had to read something out in front of 2 people, and having read a couple of sentences perfectly fine, then just froze, my mouth moving but no words coming out. Intrusive thoughts from my previous experiences of speaking were so debilitating that I couldn’t even read a few sentences in front of two colleagues in a fairly relaxed environment. The words would just would not work.
My chest would go tight and I would become very breathless. Along with this was the fear that I would constantly swallow or laugh inappropriately which would be extremely embarrassing. Sometimes I wouldn’t be able to talk because I was too busy swallowing and panicking. I felt that the fear was consuming me and I decided that it was either face my fears or spend the rest of my life thinking ‘what if?’
The help that Keith has given me has been invaluable… I couldn’t have put a price on being able to speak in public and after just 4 sessions with Keith I was able to stand up at the front of a room of 30 people and present a 15 minute PowerPoint talk about public speaking. It may seem simple to some, but to me is was a huge step forward and has given me the confidence and the determination to keep going and keep practicing.
I can now look forward to my future and progress with my studies and my career without feeling that ‘I can’t do it,’ because now I know ‘I can.’ I am actually looking forward to speaking in public again. Thank you Keith for everything!
PS- I think it will help some people to also add in here that there were times along the way that I doubted that the hypnosis would work, or I’d feel silly… But if you have the right mindset you can achieve it. If you maintain the thought that this isn’t going to work then it probably won’t. You need to want it enough and be determined enough to make it work and make sure that you stay positive!