Did you know that someone with a fear of public speaking is more likely to jump out of a plane than to speak in public? Unfortunately, public speaking is necessary for many of us whether we are called upon to give a presentation, wedding speech or speak at an interview. Evading public speaking altogether is practically impossible and yet for those who are suffering with Glossophobia (fear of public speaking) , the impact can be debilitating.
Common physical responses include sweating, choking sensations, shaking, nausea, dizziness and a cracked voice. Emotionally, the impact can be low self-esteem, self-consciousness, fear of judgement and excessive anxiety and depression. For those who do fear public speaking, you aren’t alone; around 75% of the population report public speaking as a phobia.
Swati Prasad explains:
“I’m quite confident generally but you couldn’t pay me to stand up in front of a crowd. At university I had to give a presentation and I was stressing about it for weeks in advance. In the end, I just faked being ill and got out of it. I was so anxious that my doctor really did think I was sick. That’s my strategy really – avoid!”
Why do we fear public speaking?
Anxiety is a mish-mash of the way we think, what we feel and how our bodies respond. What some perceive as a challenge, others view as a threat. Public speaking activates our primitive ‘fight or flight’ response; we either want to avoid the situation altogether or we courageously step up to the plate.
Public speaking triggers many deep seated fears in many of us:
- What if I don’t know what I’m talking about?
- What if I embarrass myself?
- What if people judge me?
- What if people laugh at me?
- What if I feel sick up there?
- What if I can’t answer their questions?
We become so self-conscious that it becomes impossible for us to focus on the task at hand. Instead, our tunnel vision flips to what others think of us.
Capt. Aditi Samant – a counseling & personal growth expert, uses self-hypnosis techniques to heal clients. Samant explains, “Fear of public speaking is an age old anxiety. It’s nothing new. The problem is that people tell themselves mentally that they cannot do something. The fear is too big, too all-encompassing, so the person, perhaps experiencing some doubt due to low self-esteem or insecurity, experiences some physiological responses that feel bad. They then feed themselves a loop of negative feedback to exacerbate the situation. The key to self-hypnosis is to recognise your cognitive distortions and then nip them in the bud before they take a hold. The client will need to replace their negative thoughts with something more positive and encouraging.”
How does self-hypnosis work?
Self-hypnosis works by giving the client the self-control to maintain their anxiety level. Self-hypnosis works by targeting a person’s subconscious soft spots including self-consciousness, low self-esteem, fear and anxiety. It then builds layers of confidence and helps a person tap into a calm, relaxed, secure and solid centre. By accessing the root cause of anxiety, self-hypnosis locates the triggers that activate our inner grenades.
Self-hypnosis techniques are ideal for anxiety sufferers because they enable people to work on their phobia in their own time; in the car, in the shower or just whenever they have a spare moment.
Samant adds, “It’s important for people to remember that this is a common phobia that many people experience and it is one that can be solved.”
Expert advice in this post has been provided by Capt. Aditi Samant and edited by OyeHelp.