Mark sent Perth Hypnosis Clinic an email requesting help:
“I am a senior professional who suffers increasingly from anxiety when presenting in group situations. This extends to both small groups and large groups. Even asking questions as an audience participant creates nervous tension. It is starting to hold me back career-wise. I am interested to hear if hypnosis can assist with such an issue?”
Whenever surveys have been carried out about what people’s worst fears are, one of the top answers that consistently comes up is public speaking. So many people dread the idea of being up before an audience giving a talk or a presentation. On a rational level, you might know that you’re perfectly safe in front of an audience, but at an emotional level, a part of your mind thinks you are genuinely in danger, so it activates the body’s emergency response mechanisms.
This is why so many people get sweaty palms and a racing heart before giving a talk. Their body is preparing for an emergency, just as if they’d encountered a pack of hungry lions in the wild. This emergency mode could be a helpful response if you’re in real danger of being eaten, but having a body that’s flooded with adrenaline, and breathing rapidly with a dry mouth, certainly isn’t the ideal state to be in when you’re giving a public talk.
The fear of public speaking often arises for a mixture of reasons. Firstly, in any high-pressure situation where you want to perform well, there can be a tendency to think about and focus on what you don’t want to happen. People with a fear of public speaking often spend a huge amount of mental energy scaring themselves by vividly imagining all the ways their talk could go wrong, and in doing so they’re performing a form of negative self-hypnosis.
In the first session, I helped Mark to use his mind in a much more positive way than this, to create much more helpful expectations about his future public talks. Mark’s unconscious mind was asked to recall those times when Mark felt the most anxious when giving a presentation, and guided to re-tag them as non-threatening, and then, use this a template for similar times in the future.
When Mark came for his follow-up session, he reported that he felt more relaxed in meetings and was significantly more calm and confident whilst giving a presentation.