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Glossophobia: fear of speaking in public

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To feel fear about public speaking is the most natural thing in the world. Some studies show that about 75% of the population is affected by it to some degree. Glossophobia is the most common phobia in the world and it regularly ranks way above spiders, rats, snakes, dental surgery and heights in survey after survey.

In fact in one where people were asked what they feared most in life, public speaking fear came first, with death second - which means that most people literally would rather die than do it. This always reminds me of the Jerry Seinfeld line that at a funeral, most people would rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy!

But don't worry.

There have been quantum leaps in our understanding of the way the human mind works in recent years, and your nervousness and fear of public speaking can be banished without too much trouble using some techniques from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). These are similar to the techniques celebrities use to rid people of phobias on TV.

On this page you will find a number of links to exercises that will help you achieve your goal. If you do them, you will find that your public speaking fear and anxiety will either disappear completely or at the very least, significantly lessen. Let me assure you, these exercises will work if you do them properly, but I want to make several points:

  • In order to get the best from the exercises, it will help if you understand a little bit about NLP. I strongly recommend that you read 'NLP & Public Speaking' first to give you a grasp of what it is all about.
  • Just as you wouldn't go to a gym, exercise once, and then think you never had to go again to stay fit, you will need to do these exercises several times until they take hold. In fact I'd be very surprised if they worked after the first attempt. But they WILL work. Of that I'm confident.
  • Some exercises will work better for you than others. Read and try them all, then pick the ones you feel most comfortable with. If something doesn't work, don't worry - just try another.
  • Although it isn't necessary, some people find they achieve even greater success if they do them (at first) with a qualified NLP practitioner.

A big stop forward in your battle against fear of public speaking is to understand the physical process your body goes through when it feels threatened, because the symptoms you diagnose as being caused by fear are really caused by a sudden rush of adrenaline through your body. Once you understand this, you can actually use your adrenaline to your own advantage (read all about this in adrenalin attack).

You should also realise that the only truly effective defense against public speaking fear is the knowledge that you are going to give a great performance when you get on your feet. We have all seen speakers brimming with confidence who had little or no actual ability! I would therefore recommend you sign up for my FREE weekly newsletterwhich is packed full of tips, techniques, secrets, humour, quotes and anecdotes you can use straight away in your next speech or presentation. You can subscribe by filling in your details at the top of the page or get more information (including our privacy policy) HERE.

If you're serious about improving your speaking skills you can also get my nearly 386-page, 85,000-word Whole-Brain Presenting Ebook, which has a whole section which deals specifically with how to improve your presenting/speaking confidence. To find out what people who have bought it think about it and how it helped them, click HERE. To purchase it, click the PayPal button at the bottom of this page.

Now for the exercises, but please read 'NLP' & Public Speaking first:

Physiology exercise

Changing States exercise

Positive Visualisation exercise

Scrambling exercise

Swishing exercise

Confidence Circle exercise

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