Is Public Speaking really a ‘fate worse than death’?
Allegedly, consultants did a survey in the USA asking successful business people, “what scares you most?” Second on the list was “dying”. So what was top? The answer: “speaking in front of large groups of people!”
Can NLP help with presentation nerves? And which NLP techniques could you use to overcome presentation nerves. This article covers the tips and NLP techniques that I use and teach on my NLP training courses about how to deal with nerves before and during presentations.
Whilst some people relish the opportunity, for many the thought of speaking in front people causes anything from nervousness to near-panic. This article considers what can be done to calm the excitement – sorry, I mean nerves. (With both emotions hearts beat faster, there are butterflies in the stomach and probably a little perspiration too).
Anxiety, or the fear of an event in the future, is usually caused by people imagining a negative outcome at the event. Try it for yourself – think of something you’re anxious about – are you imagining a great outcome, or it going wrong? Now, imagine being 15 minutes after the SUCCESSFUL completion of the event. Where are the nerves now? For most people, they disappear. Generally, using a concept often referred to on NLP training courses as having an ‘outcome frame’ (as opposed to a ‘problem frame’), that is, thinking about what you want (the presentation going well) rather than what you don’t want (it going badly), will help create some positivity for the presenter.
Using a variation of an NLP technique called ‘perceptual positions’’, if you can’t imagine it turning out well, then ask yourself what advice you would give someone else facing a similar situation to yours. Should he/she do some more research; or practice the talk; or prepare better in other ways. (Remember – if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.) And what would the audience expect from that person? Then take your own advice!
One NLP technique which works a treat is called ‘anchoring’. Think of what you’d need for the talk to go well. Is it more confidence, or to feel powerful, or happy or relaxed? Then remember several times when you felt one or more of these states, and really immerse yourself in those experiences one by one, each time doing a simple movement like pressing you thumb and index finger together when fully ‘immersed’ in the experience. Do it often enough that you can recreate the positive feelings just by pressing the two fingers together.
Then imagine seeing yourself actually doing the talk/presentation whilst you press the fingers together, noticing that the ‘you’ on the TV/cinema screen feels positive. Repeat this several times, quickly, imagining different scenarios, each time you are performing really well, handling whatever situation occurs (such as questions). Repeat the process in this paragraph, except imagine the scenarios are happening right now (as opposed to seeing yourself on a screen). If you feel a little nervous before or during the presentation, then just press the two fingers together. Do it and notice the impact!
For more information about any of the NLP techniques mentioned above, search for relevant e-books on this site.