How I Overcame My Fear of Public Speaking (and how you can, too)

Posted on March 9, 2014

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Experts say for most people the fear of speaking in public is stronger than the fear of dying.

A few years ago, I could relate to this wholeheartedly. Here’s the situation. I received an award for a book of my poems, and as part of it, was required to participate in a poetry reading.

You think this would be an exciting, happy occasion, yet every time I even thought about the reading, I would have a feeling of deep dread in my stomach and I would literally want to throw up. Dramatic response, eh?

Maybe you can relate?

I see a lot of clients with a fear of public speaking–whether it’s giving presentations at work, performing in front of a large audience, giving a wedding toast, or simply being articulate in a small group setting–this is a common issue. (And it can be quite intense for people: one client was almost hyperventilating in my office!)

How did I overcome this deep fear?

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique): This is one of the most powerful techniques I teach.

EFT involves tapping on powerful acupressure points while repeating a phrase about what you want to clear or release. It’s based on the premise that every emotional upset causes an imbalance in the body. EFT is able to quickly reduce the emotional charge, allowing the body to rebalance and promote healing.

I’ve talked about this in previous posts and it’s still my #1 favorite way to make quick and easy changes.

So how did I use EFT? Every time I thought about the upcoming reading and felt that deep dread in the pit of my stomach I did a round or two of EFT/tapping. I tapped on everything I was worried about–fear of being judged, fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of freezing up, fear of stumbling over my words.

Finally it was the night of the reading and it was my turn. I approached the podium, adjusted the microphone, and looked at the audience. Then the weirdest thing happened.

I realized I was savoring and enjoying the moment: I saw the well-known poet who had selected my work for the award, noticed some friends and family sitting in the back of the room, saw one of my favorite professors. I felt incredibly grateful for the opportunity, and was actually enjoying getting to read my poems and share my work.

It was bizarre–I had a thought that perhaps I wasn’t in the right body, as this was such an unusual feeling for me!

Rather than racing through the reading, I read through my poems in an expressive and animated way. I felt like I was really able to give it my all, and that I did my best. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would actually enjoy the reading.

And I’ve had clients share similar dramatic experiences:

I continued to use the EFT tapping and find it to be extremely helpful. I feel less anxious, more motivated and am sleeping much better. –Laura L.

I had a total of 4 sessions over two months which included EFT, hypnosis, and Reiki, and I feel I am in a much better place than I was when I first met with her. Even my friends have seen the difference. During the sessions, I was filled with emotion and Deborah made me feel safe and comfortable as I expressed everything that came up.

One of the things I really liked is that she showed me techniques, such as EFT, I could do on my own when I began to feel anxious or blocked. In-between our sessions I would continue to work through issues that came up from my past (childhood and break ups) and when I saw her I would tell her about my progress and we would then work on a deeper layer to get to the root of what was causing those particular issues. I would most definitely recommend trying it! –Karen B.

I’ve been using the EFT method and all in all I’m feeling much more relaxed about everything, which is great. There are still some anxious days, but fewer and further between! I’m actually amazed at how much better and more “accepting” I feel – I’ve made more progress in the 3 months since I’ve seen you than in all the time before that. So thank you very much for all your help! I’ll definitely spread the word about the effectiveness of it! —Maggie V.

Now this is something you can do on your own (EFT is easy to learn), though sometimes people need extra support and come for hypnosis sessions. I show you EFT, we work though the things that trigger you, and you learn other self-hypnosis techniques to help you become a successful and eloquent public speaker.

And here’s some FAQ’s from clients about how to fine tune your tapping technique. Let me know how it goes!

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