Hypnosis and the Fear of Public Speaking

May 28th, 2012 Comments Off on Hypnosis and the Fear of Public Speaking

The mere thought of standing in front of a group to present an idea or to deliver a speech can strike terror in the hearts of even the most confident of individuals. Fear of public speaking is called by many terms like speech anxiety, stage fright, fear of speaking, performance anxiety, and includes everything from standing on the stage speaking to a large audience, to answering a question in a meeting, or speaking to your boss one-on-one.

For those who suffer with the fear of public speaking, “glossophobia,” the results can be devastating. According to the Speech Topics Help, Advice and Ideas website, the fear of public speaking can have severe negative effects on careers. Workplace public speaking starts with the job interview, and for some, experiencing extreme anxiety symptoms during an interview can result in an inaccurate assessment of their ability to perform on the job.

Women and men are equally affected by glossophobia, although more men than women seek treatment to cure fear of public speaking. According to a variety of sources, (http://www.theegglestongroup.com/writing/fearspk1.php, http://www.no-fear-public-speaking.com/fearofpublicspeakingstatistics.html) public speaking is the number one fear in America and can manifest in a variety of symptoms, all of which can be treated successfully with hypnosis. The anxiety symptoms experienced by those suffering from glossophobia can be grouped into both physical and verbal categories.

The physical symptoms are the result of the “fight or flight” reaction which is an all or nothing adrenaline secretion resulting in all or most of the following symptoms simultaneously. Symptoms include an increased heart rate, dilated pupils, increased perspiration, dry mouth, increased blood pressure, increased oxygen intake, and stiffening of the upper back and/or neck muscles. Being nervous about speaking is bad enough as it is. Add to the mix these seemingly “involuntary” physical reactions, and your stress levels go off the charts! To make matters worse, the fight or flight reaction leads to what is commonly known as “brain-fog.” This is due to the allocation of energy (blood flow) from your forebrain to the part of your brain where your reflexes are. This is why it can be difficult to remember what you want to say even though you may have practiced and practiced and practiced. This only increases your stress, which then reinforces the physical symptoms, and on it goes.

Verbal symptoms can include a shaky quivering voice which can embarrass the speaker and add fuel to the fire of the entire anxiety response.

It is estimated that 75% of all speakers experience some degree of anxiety/nervousness when public speaking. That’s three out of every four people. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossophobia)

The degree of discomfort about public speaking generally falls into two categories. Those who are nervous before they start speaking but then begin to relax once they’re into it, and those who actually get more nervous as their presentation continues. Rather than feeling relieved when they have finished, this latter group actually feels more anxious even though they are done.

Those who are able to relax into the situation once they have started are referred to as habituaters. They find it easy to get used to the idea of public speaking and focus on the comfort of it. Those who feel an increased sense of anxiety as they proceed with their talk, are referred to as sensitizers, and typically focus on the unpleasant aspects of the experience. At Intuitive Hypnosis of Portland, Oregon, both habituaters and sensitizers have successfully improved their ability to speak comfortably in front of an audience. With the use of hypnosis, clients can learn and practice successful public speaking skills and rid themselves of the unpleasant physical and verbal reactions that plague those with glossophobia.

For those who suffer from glossophobia and do not seek help, they run the risk of reinforcing their anxiety symptoms by reliving their negative unpleasant speaking experiences repeatedly in their minds. Help is available. Hypnosis is a very effective means of treating and eliminating the physical and verbal reactions to the fear of public speaking. It’s never too late to rid yourself of the fear of public speaking.

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