Do You Dread Public Speaking? You Are Not Alone
For those people who have to speak in public, be it to a small intimate group or to a crowd of hundreds or thousands, being nervous is a normal response to having the spotlight focussed directly on you. In studies, up to 75% of all people report nervousness of some degree during these types of events. However, for some people, the reaction to even the thought of public speaking can create extreme anxiety, stress and an almost overriding terror of having to have that discussion.
People with a fear of public speaking, technically known as glossophobia, may have fear of talking even with specific individuals and not necessarily in what might be considered a public speaking role. An individual may fear speaking to a person in authority such as a supervisor or manager or to a police officer. Yet others may fear speaking to people they don't know while they are more comfortable in speaking with people they already have some level of acquaintance with.
In both a personal and workplace setting, fear of public speaking can be a serious issue. Individuals who experience this fear may show a variety of signs and symptoms that are literally beyond their immediate control or management.
The symptoms of speech anxiety may be pronounced or less significant but they can include:
- Avoidance of specific situations
- Stress about possibly being asked or expected to speak well in advance of the meeting, discussion or event
- Headaches, digestive upset, vomiting
- Dry mouth, inability to swallow
- Muscle tension
- Racing heart rate
- Rapid shallow breathing, difficulty breathing
- Increased blood pressure
- Feelings of dizziness
- Fainting, flushes, hot sensation over the body
People with significant fear of public speaking will experience symptoms very similar to that of a panic attack as the event draws closer. They cannot calm themselves down and may flee or freeze at the thought of having to speak. They may also become agitated, hostile or aggressive towards others as their body prepares for the ability to defend itself against the perceived stressor of the event.
Hypnosis Offers A Solution
Hypnosis is considered one of the most effective options for treating the anxiety and fear of speaking in public settings. This is because the hypnotherapist is able to work with the client to create images of positive events and public speaking situations. Through these suggestions the client develops a positive sense of their ability to speak in public without being exposed to any stressful real world speaking.
Once the client is able to think about public speaking without feeling the terror that previously occurred with these thoughts, he or she can then take the podium or have the discussion in a positive, calm and stress-free mental state. The mind and body remains relaxed and, with each successful public speaking event, confidence and relaxation around the previously terrifying event becomes the norm.
For many clients with severe public speaking fears, groups that teach public speaking skills, cognitive behaviour therapy and support for other types of generalised anxiety can be beneficial to address other fears or phobias that may also be present.