Friday, 15 November 2013

Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking or of speaking in general



I recently completed an NLP Master-Trainer course and was amazed at the experience of the trainers; more than that I was amazed at the flexibility of response to the challenges set by Christina Hall. The reason I’m opening the blog with this is because I want to discuss anxiety states and specifically presentations and public speaking.

There is a long held belief that the fear of public speaking is built on negative experiences from school years; maybe a teacher called you out in from of the class, maybe sports day, maybe school assembly or something similar. The belief is that patterns of belief are built and in an effort to avoid perceived danger situations the unconscious mind fires off an anxiety response (fight-or-flight). We can look at the function of amygdalae the in this process but I leave that to your research.

Anxiety  is not a negative state, it has no negative intention, it has a purpose and that purpose is heightened response readiness. In fact if you consider the word itself, is it being used as a verb or noun? Often the problem is its being used as a noun (Naming word) where people say “I am anxious” rather than a verb where anxiety is the doing word “I don’t know about you, but I know I’m anxious to understand this process more so that it can be used in helpful ways”.

The fear of performing in public is built on a ‘snapshot mind-made movie’ of failure and or embarrassment. The amydala acts as if this snapshot is real and creates a fear avoidance response. But here is the amazing thing, its not real its only imagination; even if you had previously not succeeded in the way you had hoped that is still no proof you may not succeed in the future. So now if you consider you thinking (imagining) something might happen in a certain way is enough for your brain to respond as though it is real, how cool would it be if you can retrain it to image more useful outcomes? Hey, its your brain, you can use it however you want to.

Try this…. Image yourself sometime into the future, just after the situation you had previously feared. But this time image that everything had gone well, that you learnt from the situation, people congratulated you.. experience this new sensation as if it is real with all 5 senses and feel the smile spread not just across your face but all through you body. Keeping that sensation with you, come back to the here and now looking forward at how much easier it appears to you… How much nicer is that experience?

You can practice this over and over enough times to the point where you can just do it now, easily and gain even more confidence to change is new and exciting ways now and into the future.

Maybe your first public speaking/presentation will be where you become so interested in sharing your new found confidence that you can’t help yourself but want to stand up now and tell everyone willing to here.

Let me know how different you feel. I am looking forward to hearing from you if you want to have even more influence over yourself and others